Moon River

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of my favorite movies. Indeed, its combination of moodiness, pacing, kookiness, and fashionabie atmosphere has shaped a lot of my cinematic tastes. “Moon River,” the simple and beautiful song by Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer, is one of the things I adore about the film. Indeed, I once recorded the song from a VHS copy of the film for a mixed tape for my friend Dan because, as far as I know, no record of the film’s music has the version sung by Audrey Hepburn, which is sad since the song was explicitly written for her range. At any rate, the BBC has a wonderful profile on how the song came to fruition, complete with the demo of the song with Mercer singing and Mancini playing the piano. With Mercer’s slight vibrato on the higher notes, the song pulses with longing but also a sense of joy.

Commonplace: Roxane Gay, “Garish, Glorious Spectacles”

“If reality television has any connection to reality, it is that women are often called upon to perform their gender, whether through how they present themselves and their sexuality, how they behave, and how they conform (or don’t) to society’s expectations for women. The repetition of gender acts in reality television becomes grossly stylized through artificially tanned skin, elaborate hair extensions, dramatic makeup, surgically enhanced bodies, and chemically injected faces. The acts become grossly stylized through bad behavior, often carefully orchestrated by producers. Under the persistent glare of the camera, these women have little choice but to sacrifice themselves for our entertainment. The women of reality television are, perhaps, the greenest of girls, women who revel in watching themselves suffer because they have been so irrevocably interrupted they do not know what else they should do. We can’t look away. These women–these interrupted Ruths and Marias–look at their ruin. They are such garish, glorious spectacles.”

~Roxane Gay, “Garish, Glorious Spectacle,” Bad Feminist

Commonplace: Orlando Gough, “Cook Cheaply, Cook Intelligently and Cook Well”

“In the world of food, it’s quinoa and za’atari v. sugar-in-everything, and is it line-caught v. can I afford fish, and organic chickens v. scarily cheap chickens, and has Jamie O betrayed his roots, and oh dear, why are poor people so fat, or rather obese, fat sounds a bit, er, uncaring. Can we eat healthily and ethically but cheaply? Actually, the great (if irritating) man, in his heroic school dinners crusade, proved, to my satisfaction at least, that we can. And he got the children cooking, wonderful. But how much do we want to, either eat healthily or indeed cook? Why not obey those daft ads that say ‘Just Eat’, go to the kebab shop and have done with it? Do poor people even have stoves? The debate rages. Meanwhile in Dartmouth Park, where we used to live, in North London za’atari heartland, everyone’s given up everything, from caffeine to alcohol and beyond, and is existing on a diet of massaged kale and early-morning runs. Do they even need their stoves?”

~ Orlando Gough, “Cook Cheaply, Cook Intelligently and Cook Well,” Toast Travels. Link here.

That Laura Kipnis Chronicle piece on Sexual Relationships on Campus

In February, Laura Kipnis wrote a piece for the Chronicle of Higher Education decry new rules at Northwestern about student/professor relationships, and in so doing, she highlighted a case on campus involving a professor and a student. It’s a case in progress and has a lot of he said/she said aspects to it. Professors dating students/students dating professors is one of those topics in academia that is squicky–squishy and perhaps icky. It can be done, I think, if between people who have no effect on each other’s careers–i.e. grad student in a complete different field of study and a professor. Or after a student graduates. But more often than not, this kind of relationship is one where power structures are always out of balance. Her follow up piece, documenting the Title IX complaint against her is alarming, especially since Title IX usually governs student/student interactions when it comes to cases of sexual assault, harassment, etc. Yet, I find Kipnis’s first piece troubling. No, seducing a professor does not empower a student, which Kipnis seems to argue. She blames her view on coming of age in a different time, and I admittedly came of age in the more sexually puritanical 90s, when sex could actually kill you before the advances in drugs to keep HIV from developing into AIDS. Yet, I don’t see how seducing a professor is a feminist act, something Kipnis also seems to imply. And given the state of academia today, prohibitions between professor student relationships protects everyone. Indeed, many workplaces have similar prohibitions about office romances when in the direct chain of command, again so that no one wields undue powers over someone at a later time. I do think the investigation into her article is bizarre, especially given the lack of transparency, although given the way Title IX works, her university may have been required to investigate no matter what. Over at TPM, another prof has similar issues with Kipnis’s first piece. It’s worth a read.

Song of the Day: Lucius, “Hey, Doreen”

I’m a sucker for songs with the name Doreen in the title, and I’ve got Rhett Miller to thank for that. At any rate, I’m digging this weird Grey Gardens-esque video mixed with women on the road/murder spree while also finding it disturbing. I find the two women both to be similar to the little girls in The Shining and to something out of the background of a Wes Anderson film. Mostly, I’m enjoying women rocking it out.

Of Style, Food, and Change

I read a blog called the New Potato, which is a wonderful mix of food and fashion. The bloggers interview celebrities and ask them questions about what they eat, how the live their daily lives, how they practice beauty from the inside out. They have a pretty standard list of questions and they ask them in equal opportunity fashion, so men have to answer the same kind of questions about diet and appearance as the women they interview do. It’s all lighthearted while staying on the right side of Gwyneth Paltrow culty. Food, in many ways, has become the new fashion. I imagine it’s partly because we are being bombarded with information about what we eat and how we should eat. Eventually, we’ll have to get to some normcore version of foodie-ness just for sanity sake. At any rate, Betty Halbreich has an old school notion of style and eating. A personal shopper at Bergdorf Goodman, Halbreich hates normcore and pretty much everything else that passes for street style these days. She’s old school to the core.