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Thursday, December 17, 2009

‘My 1980s’ – process

I’ve decided it might be interesting to know the process behind my articles. In January it will continue to be the intro. to my book AGAIN: 'Opposition,' but in February it will be ‘My 1980s.’


I’m currently writing a novel set in the 1980s and I have tons of research on the decade. My article will use a lot of this research and in turn my novel will be informed by the article. All of this is very exciting to me because I love the 80s and spending time there in my imagination is amazing. As a pop-culture specialist and academic, I believe that my work here will be relevant, topical and very accurate. I hope to convey fun, nostalgia and detail. I believe that most of my readers will relate – well.

Most of my readers grew up in the 1980s and probably have a special relationship to the 80s. I’m counting on some familiarity with the culture of the time. I imagine that I will move beyond the very influential book ‘Generation X: Tales for an Accelerated Culture.’ We are a ‘lost’ generation but there is so much pop-culture to be found that we might need to reconfigure our major presence now. Compared to the Baby-Boomers we were kind of invisible but now they’re aging. It is finally our time. I’m convinced of it.

Friday, November 6, 2009


See the intro. to my book AGAIN - an exploration of reincarnation: 'Opposition' at for the December issue - November 30th.

Monday, October 26, 2009


It is difficult to believe in a religion that places such a high premium on chastity and Virginity.

I do not believe in Virginity. Radical, eh? Many people are confused by that. Sexual activity that is predicated on intercourse between a man and a woman leaves no room for gay people. Our entire culture and many religious systems internalize this falsehood. I am a disbeliever in mandatory heterosexuality. I also do not think that having sex means you ‘lose’ something. Having sex is a celebration, not a loss. To me, like much else, Virginity is a construct. So even if one is gay and has decided to make the term their own and they believe they are ‘losing’ their Virginity, I don’t think they are. Re-appropriation is great and validating but I don’t appropriate the ‘term’ in any way.

“A Virgin (or maiden) is, originally, a woman who has never had sexual intercourse. Virginity is the state of being a virgin. It is derived from the Latin virgo, which means "sexually inexperienced woman", used typically of adolescents, but also of older women, and even goddesses [“Athena…another of the three virgin goddesses (in addition to Hestia and Artemis).” Women in Greek Myths].” (Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia)

These days guys use the term ‘Virgin’ but its roots are feminine. I feel the term is based in misogyny – “hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women.” ( Some absolutely amazing people use the term, but most people do not think like me.

The emergence of chastity rings speaks to an emphasis on Virginity: “Is it too radical to suppose these kids could have education about STDs and have a healthy sex life? In the popular high school film Twilight (2008) the lead characters are in love but do not get it on because he is a vampire and is scared he might kill her. I am sensing a disturbing trend.” (Shiller, POP goes the TEEN.)

The idea that many young people wait until marriage to have sex gives ‘Virginity’ a currency. I am not encouraging kids to run out and have sex but the premium on abstinence makes me ill because it is so wrapped up in ideology – it is the opposite of free-will. Certainly, if one chooses not to have sex – fine. The reasons behind this decision need to be explored – freely.

Look, for a heck of a long time there has been a Virgin/Whore dichotomy. “The Virgin Birth of Jesus is a religious tenet of Christianity and Islam which holds that Mary miraculously conceived Jesus while remaining a virgin”. (Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia) I am certainly not the first or last to address this: “Feminists and other social commentators use the term to describe a deep dichotomy in modern culture used to oppress women via a sexual double standard, establishing rigid categories for female sexual behavior while permitting male sexual behavior to range from abstinence to promiscuity without similarly disparaging social judgment.” (Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia) At least it’s acknowledged. It is powerful to make fun of this dichotomy – to be ironic about it, but I also think it merits serious attention because it is so insidious. Believe me; I’d like nothing more than to dismiss it as a phase. There is a catch-phrase one of my friends used: “men want to [have sex] with the whore but marry the Virgin.” Often true and VERY boring.

I remember an episode of Sex and the City (1998-2004) where Charlotte had to explain to her new husband that she was a ‘sexual being’ so that he’d have sex with her and not see her as a virginal mother figure. Sad. What is truly interesting is that all of the characters have a framework – Sex – the show is called Sex and the City after all. A dichotomy is set up in this instance. Ideas of the Virgin and the Whore are established.

Because we internalize so many ideas about the Virgin/Whore we owe it to ourselves to examine into which part of our lives these ideas are seeping. Like so many things we take for granted, this may be invisible. Let’s try to make it concrete.

The fact that I’m newly disabled and have a different body than before does not make me a Virgin because my altered physicality is about adapting. Certainly, it will be ‘new’ but I view my future experience as a progression. I feel the same way for kids. I don’t believe there is a metaphorical line drawn by what we have or have not experienced.

The semantics of the term ‘Virginity’ creates meaning. I personally do not think we can escape its negative impact, so I opt out. I really do not think that my voice or opinions will change things. Someone said; “…voices to quash those stereotypes will fall to the wayside over time if that change does not occur.” I believe that, and while I am glad to tell you how I feel, I know the ideology will remain. I was going to say that it sucks to be me, but it doesn’t really – I’m just realistic.

BIBLIOGRAPHY Accessed August 3, 2009.
Sex and the City. Creator: Darren Star. Darren Star Productions. 1998-2004. Accessed August 6, 2009.
Shiller, Romy. POP goes the TEEN.
Twilight. Director, Catherine Hardwicke. Goldcrest Pictures. 2008. Accessed May 1, 2009.
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia Accessed August 3, 2009.
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia August 6, 2009.
Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia Accessed August 2, 2009.
Women in Greek Myths Accessed August 6, 2009.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Big Bother

When people bother you in any way, it is because their souls are trying to get your divine attention and your blessing.

- Catherine Ponder

I do not know why I watch the television show Big Brother: "Contestants must compete against each other for a chance to win $500,000 in a house wired with cameras and microphones, capturing their every move for a TV and Internet audience." (IMDB) I imagine it is like slowing down on a freeway to see an accident. You know it's going to be gross, a mess, ugly and suggest violence but you do it anyway. I'm sorry to offend anyone but to me the show is Jerry Springer-esque. In general, I would never associate with anyone on Big Brother. I would never enter a sealed house with strangers and cameras for a chance to win money. There is obviously an allusion to the well-known saying: "In the society that Orwell describes, everyone is under complete surveillance by the authorities, mainly by telescreens. The people are constantly reminded of this by the phrase "Big Brother is watching you", which is the core "truth" of the propaganda system in this state." (Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia). I watch it despite myself. The fact that I'm a Pop Culture critic helps me justify my decision to watch but really...I don't watch reality shows like The Bachelor (2002 - ) or The Bachelorette (2003 - ).

I do like to watch dance programs on television such as So You Think You Can Dance Canada (2008 - ). I watched the less good American version this year, So You Think You Can Dance (2005 - ). While I hoped that Kayla Radomski would win (Jeanine Mason won) I honestly felt like they would all be an excellent choice - no matter what. I find feats of the body inspiring and hopeful. Watching people defy gravity and contort against seemingly impossible odds is rewarding to me. Because my own body is severely limited, I enjoy the examples of surpassing limitations and breaking through boundaries. I am the furthest from being a dancer or gymnast yet merely the act of watching enables possibilities for me. An expectation might be that I would feel sad watching this stuff but I do not. I take pleasure in watching the freedom of movement and the agile bodies. I mean even if I were able, I would not be half as good as them. Watching Nico (Canada - 2008) dance made my heart soar.

This year the contestants on Big Brother (2009) are divided into 4 groups or "high school cliques;" the athletes, popular, brains and off-beats. I guess that I'd be put into the brains or off-beats but I do not identify with any group - no surprise. In my article POP goes the TEEN ( I delineate the contentious divisions in high school; "The gender division has a metaphor; in the cafeteria the so-called "brainiacs" sit together, same with "surfer-dudes" and jocks. All sing about maintaining the status-quo while one from each group "confesses." A "brainiac" likes rap, a "surfer-dude" plays the cello and wears a tie, and a male jock bakes." My watching Big Brother gets weirder and weirder, eh?

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia says; "Reality television is a genre of television programming that presents purportedly unscripted dramatic or humorous situations, documents actual events, and usually features ordinary people instead of professional actors. Although the genre has existed in some form or another since the early years of television, the term reality television is most commonly used to describe programs of this genre produced since 2000."

Because Big Brother completely belies my belief system, you'd think I'd stay away. Since the Adam Lambert fiasco on American Idol I try to divest from Reality TV; "I was so mad when Adam Lambert didn't win American Idol (2009). It is just a TV show but it says a hell of a lot." (See my rant: People seem to abhor 'difference.') I watched a lot of reality television so my hospital experience was heavily influenced by this and in my book You Never Know: A Memoir, I say; "I watch so much television, including medical shows, so I am sure I was influenced by a bit of melodrama. My entire experience felt like Reality TV." (p.61) While I may watch a lot of Reality TV I'm usually suspicious of it and I expect that a hidden yet motivated attempt at manipulation will take place. Someone is deciding what we see after all, and ratings count. Reality TV is actually no more 'real' than regular TV. Sorry to burst your bubble.

Ideas of 'the real' we hold are very interesting to me on many levels. Reality television exemplifies a level that suggests that if an actual person, not an actor, says or does certain things, it is fact and genuine. Things like editing or producing are invisible. I was in a mini-documentary ("Modern documentaries have some overlap with television forms, with the development of "reality television" that occasionally verges on the documentary...Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia) and sure what I chose to say came from my own mind but I had no choice in what was used, I had no say in how it was put together and it followed a predetermined aesthetic in keeping with the news-show airing it (even though the fabulous woman filming it had her own style). I would gladly do it again and was asked to be in a feature-length film documentary, but I am under no false illusion here. Even documentaries are 'unreal.'

Perhaps watching Big Brother is like looking at a different species in a zoo (so sorry). From the safety of my room, protected by a television screen, I can witness bizarre and at times, dangerous behavior with no chance of physical harm. In my own private world I am anonymous and hidden - completely the opposite of the contestants. Maybe that's it - I'm opposite! Let's go with that - watching the show ironically validates me. I am a big believer in exploring what we are not. In my book Again, about reincarnation, I say. "As usual, I am not about changing minds; I am about integrity in the face of opposition. If I try to be honest and truthful and if what I say belies one's belief-system, I feel I am like a mirror - one can see who they are or who they are or are not in me. I do not need anyone to agree with me or believe what I believe. I am not trying to convince anyone of anything. I am simply writing my truth." (p. 11)

I like that I don't identify with a group or person on Big Brother. My "mirror" is the television set. I do not see myself reflected back in this show. Wow.


American Idol. Creator, Simon Fuller. Fremantle Media North America. 2002 - ?

The Bachelor. Creator: Mike Fleiss. Next Entertainment. 2002-.

. Accessed July 30, 2009.

The Bachlorette. Creator: Mike Fleiss. Next Entertainment. 2003-.

. Accessed July 30, 2009.

Big Brother. Directors: Curnal Achilles Aulisio, Adam Christian Clark etc. Evolution Film & Tape. 2000-.

July 29, 2009.

Shiller, Romy. Again. Victoria, BC: Trafford. 2009.

----------------People seem to abhor 'difference.'

----------------POP goes the TEEN.

----------------You Never Know: A Memoir. Victoria, BC: Trafford. 2008.

So You Think You Can Dance. Creators: Simon Fuller, Nigel Lythgoe. 19 Television. 2005 - ?

<> Accessed July 29, 2009.

So You Think You Can Dance Canada. Director: Nigel Lythgoe. SFA Productions. 2008-.

Accessed July 30, 2009.

Accessed July 29, 2009.

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia

Accessed July 29, 2009.

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia

<> Accessed August 1, 2009.

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia

Accessed July 30, 2009.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lipstikindie review of AGAIN‏ - an exploration of reincarnation

Okay, this has nothing to do with my articles but I am so proud of this review that I wanted to share it.

ISBN # - 97814251844810
Author - Romy Shiller
Editor/Publisher/Press - Trafford Publishing
Where to purchase -
Price - $18.59 USD
Genre - Non-Fiction

reviewed by Carolina Smart

Several months ago I reviewed Romy Shiller’s wonderfully inspirational book ‘You Never Know’. ‘You Never Know’, is a biographical story about the traumatic events that changed Romy Shiller’s life. It was beautifully written, sending a powerful message and leaving me to think about my own fate in this world.

When I received ‘Again’ I was just as eager to crack open the cover to see what journey I was about to take next with Romy. Once again I found myself hooked right from the beginning. Using her own experiences and knowledge on the subject, we are taken into the world of Reincarnation. Many books currently on the shelves relating to this subject are hard to understand and very tedious to read for the layperson. Romy Shiller’s approach will have anyone with a curious mind on the subject matter fully engorged and craving for more.

I myself am an avid reader on everything relating to the Occult. This isn’t an Occult based book, rather one that uses Romy’s experiences with Reincarnation to help the reader fully understand not only what it really is, but the spiritual aspects to it. As a reader you will become emotionally attached, as you take yet another wonderful journey with this amazing and intuitive writer.

I strongly suggest for those of you interested in learning about Reincarnation, start with this book before you start reading the complicated texts that most will recommend. However, be prepared to be knocked off your feet with the emotional journey this book takes you on.

Romy Shiller is a force to be reckoned with and I am once again looking forward to her next book.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Double Standard?

When I'm good I'm very, very good but when I'm bad I'm better.

Mae West

(originally published July 27, 2009.?)




According to the book Third Wave Feminism and Television: Jane Puts it in a Box by the head of women's studies at South-Carolina U., Merri Lisa Johnson, I'm a third wave feminist. I can imagine that you are getting many letters regarding your provocative cover featuring a superman Barack Obama. Obviously, he holds many views that feminists hold dear and indeed he considers himself a feminist. I do believe that men can be feminists. Does he belong on your esteemed cover? No. Your magazine defines feminism in female terms. It is important to realize that not all women are feminists by virtue of their biology. In your case it is absolutely necessary to keep women as a focus: Like black men, there is a major history for women and a continuing struggle. So yes there are parallels here but is that reason enough? You have the honourable and incredible opportunity to locate women who surpass their confines, who themselves represent change. In my own work as a gender specialist I validate the spectrum of femininity and masculinity for females and males. It would be entirely seamless for me to endorse your cover. I cannot. Look, if I were American (I am Canadian) I gladly would have voted for him. In my estimation he is remarkable, inspiring and transformative. I am thrilled he is your president. However, he would not be on the cover of my (hypothetical) feminist magazine.

Romy Shiller

3rd Wave Feminist

POP goes the TEEN

a look at youth-culture

POP goes the TEEN

As a teenager you are at the last stage in your life when you will be happy to hear that the phone is for you. ~ Fran Lebowitz

Simply skimming. Images of youth in popular culture. Not Toddlers and Tiaras (2009) about toddler beauty pageants, which makes me sick or the 20-something hot bods in the new Star Trek (2009), I am such a Cougar - "an older woman who sexually pursues men at least eight years her junior."(Wikipedia) I am discussing teenagers and tweens - "the stage between middle childhood and adolescence in human development, generally in the age range of 10 to 12 years of age." (Wikipedia).

"High School Musical is a Disney movie that tells the story of some high school students - Troy [Zac Efron], Gabriella [Vanessa Hudgens], Sharpay [Ashley Tisdale], Ryan [Lucas Grabeel], Chad [Corbin Bleu], Taylor [Monique Coleman] - as they audition for, and react to their friends auditioning for, their school's Spring musical." I looked at all three High-School Musicals and the Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert films in addition to many others. Briefly about Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: "The fictional pop star [Hannah Montana] was created in 2006 for a Disney Channel comedy series about an ordinary teenage girl leading a secret double life. Before long, the manufactured Hannah was very popular with genuine audiences, generating the onslaught of merchandising opportunities expected of a post-Lizzie McGuire hit." ( In Hannah Montana: The Movie "Disney's tween sitcom hits the big screen, sending Miley and her dad back home to Tennessee.,...For those not yet in the know, Cyrus plays a fictionalized version of herself on the Disney Channel's wildly popular series "Hannah Montana." (Daily News)

In a very utopian way, I imagined things would change for kids. Not only was I wrong but so disappointed. The gender division is enormous. Boys play sports and are ridiculed for being artistic in the High School musicals. Someone discussing gender equity in high school sports on the internet said, "In high school, traditionally, boys' sports are seen as important and girls' aren't. Example: In "High School Musical" the boy wins a sports game and everyone is freaking out but the girl wins an intellectual championship and no-one cares. This way of thinking is all over the country and has existed for as long as school sports. Recently, however, there have been lawsuits over giving equal time and facilities and funding to girls' sports. Here in Michigan, some girls' teams won the right to play basketball during the typical basketball season instead of during the boys' offseason." ( It is ironic because these films are predicated on singing and dancing yet the subject-matter finds these activities contentious.

The gender division has a metaphor; in the cafeteria the so-called "brainiacs" sit together, same with "surfer-dudes" and jocks. All sing about maintaining the status-quo while one from each group "confesses." A "brainiac" likes rap, a "surfer-dude" plays the cello and wears a tie, and a male jock bakes. I wanted them to break the rules and escape the mold. No such luck even with confessions.

I watched the uber-delicious, Zac Efron (born October 18, 1987, behave Romy!!) in 17 Again (2009), where like in High School Musical 1, 2 and 3 he plays basketball in High School. "Zac Ephron -- the David Cassidy of the 21st Century -- makes his grown-up movie breakout in 17 Again, a movie about a middle-aged guy who's disappointed in his life and magically becomes young again so he can return to high school and make things right." (

In High School Musical the following dialog takes place:

Chad: Have you ever seen Michael Crawford on a cereal box?

Troy: Who's Michael Crawford?

Chad: Exactly my point! He was the Phantom of the Opera on Broadway. Now my mom, she's seen that musical twenty-seven times. And she put Michael Crawford's picture in our refrigerator. Yeah, not on it, in it. So my point is, if you play basketball, you're gonna end up on a cereal box. If you sing in musicals, you're gonna end up in my mom's refrigerator.

We need to validate how fabulous it is for young men to enjoy musicals and for young women to play sports. The divisions we have created are damaging and false. There is a spectrum for femininity and masculinity. Sports do not automatically belong to males and musicals - females. You do not have to be a gay male to like musicals or a gay female to like sports. One can be gay but these activities do not define sexual preference.

"We now must talk about Zac Efron, whom we meet in the first scene [17 Again] as Mike, a high school basketball star in 1989, shooting hoops with no shirt on and preening in the manner of both a high school athlete and a movie actor who is painfully aware of his own appeal: hey everyone, I'm acting. Nice pecs, huh?" ( It is so hard to watch him as an actor when his celebrity status and gorgeousness is so foregrounded. Certainly he can act, but who cares?

I want to discuss sexuality. Teenagers have sex. "The sexual activity took place at a number of places. And probably the two most common places for sexual activity to take place were either at the home of one of the adolescents. A lot of the adolescents had parents who worked, were at home alone, had parents who put in 40, 60, 80 hour work weeks...," noted Claire Sterk. (

Many of the images portrayed try to contain sexuality. Miley Cyrus has commented on the sexual Vanity Fair pictures taken by famed photographer Annie Lebovitz, "The photos, appearing in the upcoming issue of Vanity Fair, were taken by Leibovitz, a renowned celebrity photographer whose edgy, silver-toned portraits have included subjects such as Angelina Jolie, Scarlett Johansson and a naked, pregnant Demi Moore."Lebovitz said, "I'm sorry that my portrait of Miley has been misinterpreted," Leibovitz made a statement released by Vanity Fair. "Miley and I looked at fashion photographs together and we discussed the picture in that context before we shot it. The photograph is a simple, classic portrait, shot with very little makeup, and I think it is very beautiful." ( Sirus said, "I never intended for any of this to happen and I apologize to my fans who I care so deeply about." ( Get over it, I say. claims, "Some say High School Musical is the young generation's Grease. With a G-rating, it is definitely a much cleaner version of high school love illustrated through catchy songs and cool choreography." The image Disney seems to want to portray is of teenagers being mega-clean cut. All three High School Musicals and the Hannah Montana brand are squeaky clean: "The Disney Channel, which airs Cyrus' TV show "Hannah Montana," was also critical of Vanity Fair." [A] situation was created to deliberately manipulate a 15-year-old in order to sell magazines," ( and a half.

The emergence of chastity rings speaks to an emphasis on abstinence;

"Selena Gomez (from Wizards of Waverly Place) and Demi Lovato (from Camp Rock) posted a Q&A vlog on youtube and talk about purity rings, being in love with Shia Labeouf/William Beckett, and stuff. oh and then they sing Hannah Montana." (LiveJournal)

"The Jonas Brothers are an American pop boy band. The band gained their popularity from the Disney Channel children's television network. Hailing from Wyckoff, New Jersey, the band consists of three brothers: Kevin Jonas, Joe Jonas, and Nick Jonas. In the summer of 2008, they starred in the Disney Channel Original Movie Camp Rock. They have released three albums." (Wikipedia) The extremely popular boy group have joined the band-wagon;

"The Jonas Brothers have vowed to abstain from sex until marriage.

The popular band of brothers wears purity rings as "promises to ourselves and to God that we'll stay pure till marriage," Joe, 18, tells Details magazine in their March issue.

The rings are "just one of our ways of kind of like being different than everybody else out there," Nick says.

"I got mine made at Disney World," Nick, 15 adds. "It's pretty awesome."

Oldest brother Kevin, 20, has a ring from Tiffany's. "It's pretty rock and roll," Kevin tells the magazine. "It's getting banged up a little bit because of the guitar."

Though Nick tells Details that he loves the trio's fans - the "screaming girls are awesome," he says - the brothers have told they enjoy being single." ( Yup.

"Miley Cyrus, 16, says she wants to keep her virginity until she marries, implying her 20-year-old good Christian boyfriend Justin Gaston's dry spell may last another 10 years!" (SawfS News) Uh-huh.

Is it too radical too suppose these kids could have education about STDs and have a healthy sex life? In the popular high school film Twilight (2008) the lead characters are in love but do not get it on because he is a vampire and is scared he might kill her. I am sensing a disturbing trend.

There is a gigantic market aimed at tweens and teenagers. "Rock & roll may never die, but you know it's been eaten by the consumer culture when you see Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, in which the bouncy diva of prepubescent bubblegum pantomimes every rebel-yell gesture in history, all to exalt girl-power attitude as something you can acquire." (

Did you know that there is a website that markets to tween girls? It's called "TV & Pop Culture Fan Gifts for Tween Girls." Talk about getting them early on many levels. To be a tween girl, according to the branding on this website, is to buy into the following description of items: "Be A Star With High School Musical's Games, Fashion Angels Crafty Kit, Totally Bananas Harajuku Perfumes, Beautify Your Bratz Dolls for Budding Fashionistas, Hip Disney Fashions for Girls, "The Princess Diaries" Books & DVDs..." (TV & Pop Culture Fan Gifts for Tween Girls) etc. My impulse would be to show the power young girls have but I think that the gender stereotyping outweighs that. Undoubtedly, that the girls have buy-power is great. However, look at what they can buy. I personally love that stuff but I am fortunate - I can make an informed decision.

Images of teens in popular culture are problematic. The problems have an upside though. They often shed light on what needs to be fixed.


17 Again. Director, Burr Steers, Offspring Entertainment, 2009.

Camp Rock. Director, Matthew Diamond. Disney Channel. 2008. <> Accessed May 1, 2009.

Daily News <> Accessed May 4, 2009. <> Accessed

May 4, 2009. <,,20175074,00.html> Accessed May 4, 2009. <,2933,352800,00.html> Accessed May 1, 2009.

Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert Tour. Director, Bruce Hendricks. PACE. 2008.

Hannah Montana: The Movie. Director, Peter Chelsom. It's a Laugh Productions. 2009.

High-School Musical. Director, Kenny Ortega. Disney Channel. 2006,

High School Musical 2. Director, Kenny Ortega. Walt Disney Pictures. 2007

High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Director, Kenny Ortega. Borden and Rosenbush Entertainment. 2008.

LiveJournal <> Accessed May 1, 2009.

SawfS News. < aspx> Accessed

May 1, 2009. <> Accessed May 1, 2009.

Star Trek. Director, J.J. Abrams. Bad Robot. 2009.

The Internet Movie Database.

The Internet Movie Database.

The Quote Garden. <> Accessed May 2, 2009.

Toddlers and Tiaras. Reality-TV. Authentic Entertainment. 2009.

TV & Pop Culture Fan Gifts for Tween Girls. Accessed May 4, 2009.

Twilight. Director, Catherine Hardwicke. Goldcrest Pictures. 2008. <> Accessed May 1, 2009. > Accessed May 1, 2009.

Vanity Fair. <> Accessed May 1, 2009. <> Accessed May 1, 2009.

Wikiquote <> Accessed

May 1, 2009.

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia <> Accessed May 2, 2009.

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia Accessed May 6, 2009.

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia

<> Accessed

May 1, 2009.

Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia

<> Accessed

May 6, 2009.

Monday, August 31, 2009

People seem to abhor ‘difference'

See my short article/rant on American Idol loser Adam Lambert
People seem to abhor ‘difference' at:

my short article/rant on American Idol loser Adam Lambert

I was so mad when Adam Lambert didn't win American Idol (2009). It is just a TV show but it says a hell of a lot. He wears nail polish, eyeliner, some people say he is gay and he is called by the show a "glam rocker." "Going into the finale, there was talk of "red state-blue state" politics at work, with Lambert's painted fingernails, "guyliner," and uncertain sexuality against Allen's down-home, churchgoing sensibilities. Given the current political climate, that matchup appeared to favor Lambert, but a number of blue-state types may be "too cool" for Idol's mass appeal, and unlikely to vote." (Daily News)

In my book You Never Know: A Memoir I say; "Difference is something that most people avoid. Fitting in becomes a goal. Personally, I think difference is valuable. It is the "same" that irks me. Variation is not the same as inconsistency. One can be incredibly multi-tonal and consistent." (Shiller, You Never Know: A Memoir, p. 23.) said: "The judges dug Adam Lambert from the beginning. So did America - until the glam rocker went vocal-chord-to-vocal-chord with Southern boy-next-door Kris Allen and came out on the losing end." (

I'm usually disappointed by Idol, except for David Cook, "I think he's done more to deserve it over the eleven weeks," Cowell tells Blender magazine. "He's taken more risks, he's done things with certain songs that have been more interesting." (showbizspy)

My expectations are usually modified but this was too much to bear. Adam Lambert was simply fantastic. If there were an Olympics for singing he'd easily win. Do people really care about his sexuality? Whatever he might define himself as should not matter. As judge Randy said, he could sing ANYTHING. Sure he'll get a contract and do very well but the politics on this show are overwhelming. Even a sage pop culture critic like me is in disbelief.

So, most people seem to like safe, familiar standards. Eyeliner and nail polish are for girls "naturally" and for a male to don items meant for the opposite gender is suspect. Most people regard this as a sign of gayness. I do not. I do not give a crap if he's gay; it's the readings of him that bug the hell out of me. "He returned to his rocker roots and it was nice to see that guy back. However, the guy liner and the nail polish have to go." ( It is so contentious to be ‘other.' I believe that him performing with the band KISS in the finale, while fabulous, was a way of categorizing him, normalizing him. "Lambert started things off solo, wearing a studded, sorta-angelic ensemble (leather epaulet, with wings and all), performing a somber, falsetto'ed version of "Beth." Then as the pyro hit, Kiss themselves descended from the heavens and launched into a big-time take on another staple (from the same year, 1976), "Detroit Rock City." ( American Idol and the public needed a safe precedent. While KISS may be out there, they are familiar.

I can't be the only one who thought, when Adam and Kris sang with Queen guy, that Adam was much better suited to the style. If asked, I believe he should fill in the void left by Freddy Mercury. Honestly.

It is far from surprising that Kris Allen won; it is more like throwing freezing water on your face. I kind of feel responsible for my pain (sorry Kris). I really didn't have to watch. A comfort-zone has been sustained and my discomfort could have been avoided.


American Idol. Creator, Simon Fuller. Fremantle Media North America. 2002 - ?

Daily News

<, 2009.

<>, Accessed May 22, 2009.

<, 2009.

<, 2009.

Shiller, Romy. You Never Know: A Memoir. Victoria, BC: Trafford, 2008.


Accessed May 22, 2009.'

The Internet Movie Database.