What is the value of Occupy-ing?

Consider this rambling blog post a companion to the more succinct and well-thought out post by Graham Stinnett here and and P.R. Potyondy’s musings here.

What is the value of protest? With the rise of the Tea Party, the nationwide spread of the Occupy movement, protests overseas in Britain and the Middle East, the spectacular responses to anti-union legislation in Wisconsin and Ohio, and much more, this has been a year where the topic of protest has trickled up from those in the streets (Wall Street, Main Street, etc) to those at cocktail parties or at dinner tables. Time magazine named “The Protestor” as its person of the year.  Much of the talk I’ve been privy to among well-meaning liberals like myself discussing Occupy Wall Street and the related efforts across the country simultaneously lauds the political grievances voiced and critiques the actual protests themselves. This seems to mirror the ways in which news media covers the protests – a segment on the faltering economy or the governmental moves to winnow away workers’ rights and financial gains followed by a piece that highlights the Occupy movement as one that seems to lack a focused aim. Continue reading


The Incredible Whiteness of Katy Perry’s Being: Part 2, Visual Analysis

This blog continues from Part 1, Lyrical Analysis

The video for Katy Perry’s “ET” shuffles the position of alien, at least on its surface, with Perry now acting as the Other falling to Earth.  Continue reading

The Incredible Whiteness of Katy Perry’s Being: Part 1, Lyrical Analysis

So, in the interest of not making you read a LOT all at once, I’m breaking this blog post up into two parts – the first considers just the lyrics/acoustics of Katy Perry’s recent single ET and the second turns to the accompanying visuals from her music video. 

Usually I come to popular culture with an eye for the queer potential, the cracks in mainstream media that can hold the possibility for resistance and new ways of understanding the world.  When I look at Katy Perry, I usually find myself at a loss.  I’ve presented before about the ways in which Perry hijacked queerness as a way to present herself as a “bad girl” on her first album.  True, as a friend argued on a panel with me, “I Kissed a Girl” need not be written off as merely an anthem to lesbianism for the male gaze, but could also be about the possiblities inherent in experimentation and to dismiss its potential dismisses the complexities of female sexuality in a heteropatriarchy.  In general, though, Perry leaves me scratching my head.  Continue reading

Gaga Births a Video

To follow my previous post on Lady Gaga’s self-described gay anthem, here‘s the bizarre video she released today to accompany it.  Beware, there’s a lot of goo, and for those of you that subscribe to hegemonic notions of women’s anatomy as abject, this is definitely not for you.

Critique to follow, perhaps?

Was Gaga ‘Born This Way’?: The Problems with a Natural Argument

In case, you missed it, Lady Gaga released a new single last Friday, got inside a giant egg, and was hatched (born?) at the Grammys where she gave a lackluster performance (lackluster only by her own standards – no one was bled on, there were no flames, nothing was shattered, and there was a disappointing lack of men in women’s underwear or kilts) and kicked off the marketing campaign for her sophomore album.  The single “Born This Way” promises to soon be EVERYWHERE with its catchy, nineties dance beats and its clear homage to Madonna.  And apparently, there’s a backlash against it.  Backlash meaning the sort of digital media mimetic vertigo that’s become standard in this 24-hour entertainment news cycle we all feed on – bloggers/news outlets tell us there’s a backlash, we read, we respond, others mirror our response and if feeds a continued backlash. I predict that soon enough “Born This Way” will join Gaga’s other singles as one that’s imprinted on our brain alongside our PIN numbers and such.  The difference however, comes in the overt message of tolerance Gaga has chosen to tackle with a Whitmanesque laundry list of sexual and racial “others.”  (for some reason, I cannot embed the video but check this link for a fairly good vid of the Grammys performance) Continue reading