Culture

Act Natural: Me and Dorian Electra’s Flamboyant

The problem of the personal essay is bridging the massive gap between me and you. Many personal essays, especially those written by queer people whose experiences are so varied and idiosyncratic, tend to share an almost unmediated picture of experience. I sometimes express dissatisfaction when an essay glances off me and leaves no lasting trace. I don’t get it. Then I’m reminded that that’s sort of the point. You read the piece, and if you share the experience, you empathize. If not, too bad. It was not for you anyway. But a melancholy taste is left in my mouth.

Ferdinand Magellan Circumnavigates Disneyland and Las Vegas: World Possession Made Easy

Anno Domini 1522: Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s Victoria returns to harbour in Spain after circumnavigating the globe, tying up the world with a golden girdle—which is a necklace, which is a collar, which is a garotte. Magellan himself had so famously expired many months ago on the island of Mactan in the Philippines—speared to death like a fish, by all accounts—but, alas, the flat-earth, anti-Cartographic forces of the universe were too late. Magellan’s will be done: the globe is complete.

The Chick-Flick Dilemma

Throughout our lives, women and girls are spoon-fed the genre of romance in books, movies, and television. We are told through a host of stories that our princes are out there waiting for us, and that we will all have cute love stories—with some ups and downs—but that eventually, he’ll make a grand gesture, and then we’ll walk off into the sunset together. While romance is in fact real, the romance women are led to believe will be performed by men in our society is a fabrication. ‘Chick flicks,’ or romantic movies, are at the forefront of this misleading narrative. Whether it be The Notebook, which has long been hailed as an epic love story, or a more comedic film such as Friends With Benefits, in the end, the female protagonist always falls happily in love, while the man at her side loves her intensely, and vows to be faithful to her. This is seen also in romantic novels, especially romantic Young Adult novels, catered towards girls as young as 12 and 13 years old. These stories specifically indicate that the man falls in love as well. Even if sex is at the forefront of the narrative (as it is in Friends With Benefits) said man will never be able to resist the main character’s personality, and he will end up falling for her no matter what. Even if he only views her as a possible sexual partner at first, in the end he wants her as a life partner. This narrative can lead to a lot of false hope, and not because ‘men are trash,’ and all they care about is sex.

A Short Analysis of What A24 Does Well

A Short Analysis of What A24 Does Well

In the winter of 2019, I attended the Sundance Film Festival as an over-worked intern. Although the experience was mostly dropping off Uber eats orders and escorting people to their interviews, I had been given free tickets to watch two films of my choice. I had to choose from a list, giving each film a numerical value ranging from 1 to 5. The film marked “1” (meaning the film I wanted to watch most) was A24’s “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” . Due to popular demand, I was not able to get a ticket to this film, and was instead stuck with watching a horrifically boring documentary about lumber.

The Good Life, Ukrainian Style

The Good Life, Ukrainian Style

Tennis anyone? Horseback riding? A round of golf? Try your luck at the shooting range, or out on the hunting grounds? Aim clear of the private zoo, with its collection of peacocks, yaks, ostriches, deer, antelope, pheasants, and wild boar. For the motoring minded there is a lineup of antique cars to ogle, 27 in all, valued at more than $1 million. At the end of a busy day a spa awaits to offer massages (Thai, Swedish, or facial, with designated rooms for each), a tanning room of nagging clouds has obscured the Slavic sun, and a fully functional gym to tone muscles is left untried. Dinner awaits in either of two formal dining rooms or a restaurant housed in a Spanish warship afloat on a manmade lake. Before bedtime, nightcaps are poured into crystal glasses in the wood-paneled bar. Were these the delights on offer at a five-star resort on the Black Sea coast? No, they awaited guests of former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych at Mezhyhiriya, the site of his country home until he fled to Russia on February 21, 2014 following a flurry of nationwide protests.

Look Closer: The Importance of Punch Drunk Love

Look Closer: The Importance of Punch Drunk Love

Punch Drunk Love is a kind of movie we are all familiar with, but also one that is unlike any other. The initial shot of this movie makes director Paul Thomas Anderson’s vision clear: he aims to show us something we could not have seen otherwise. It is through his craft that the audience is treated to a subversion of the romantic comedy—a genre of film riddled with clichés. PDL is special because it is made up of things we are used to seeing and flips them on their head. This subversion of components generates something entirely different: a beautiful, intimate experience that demands that we change what we ask for from these kinds of movies.

Crystal Hearts: McDonald’s After 2am

Crystal Hearts: McDonald’s After 2am

Downtown Toronto is a paragon of late night, big city affairs. The ROM stands an eight-minute subway ride away from the CN Tower. Toronto’s extending crowds lead into the University of Toronto’s Varsity Centre and the Royal Conservatory of Music, across the street from the slimmer crowds of young adults and teens equipped with fake IDs entering their selected bars for the night. The Bloor-Yonge intersection lies just a few blocks east. Turning south on Yonge reveals a different sense of a big city: one of detachment and poverty, wonderfully depicted within the Yonge-Charles McDonald’s.

Do Self-Help Books Really Help?

Do Self-Help Books Really Help?

As far as individual books go, controversy is normal and often welcomed. In terms of disagreement on entire genres, however, one category up for discussion is that of self-help literature. These types of books have been around for over a century, even if they seem to be a relatively modern occurrence, and their popularity has been on the rise. In 2018, sales of self-help books in Britain were up 20% from the previous year, landing at a solid three million books sold. Celebrities have even gotten in on the business, with Russell Brand and Fearne Cotton having written and published their own books. It is estimated that the genre will be worth 13.2 billion dollars in the US market by 2022.

Music to be Murdered

Music to be Murdered

On January 17th, Marshall Mathers — aka Eminem — quietly released his 10th major-label album, entitled Music to Be Murdered By. The title and cover image are a nod to Alfred Hitchcock’s eponymous work from 1958, and the “Alfred” interlude and outro are the famed director’s orated introduction and closing from his own album. But Eminem didn’t use the theme to make a concept album. Instead, with production by Dr. Dre, Tay Keith, and D.A. Doman, among others, the 64-minute album has Eminem performing a balancing act that invokes his crude alter ego — Slim Shady — with rabid foolishness. It has him rapping alongside younger artists such as Juice WRLD (in his first posthumous musical appearance) and Young M.A, all while still trying to provoke nostalgia by emulating his D12-era self and sharing the scene with established rappers like Black Thought and Royce Da 5’9”. Unfortunately, for a body of work that takes its title from the so-called “King of Suspense,” the album leaves the listener largely unmoved.

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