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M.I.A.’s “Born Free” Vid: Is Ginger-Hate The New Black?

April 27th, 2010 | 5 comments | Posted by Jen

Have you seen M.I.A.’s much talked-about “Born Free” video yet?

It’s violent! It’s NSFW! It’s been censored by YouTube! It’s about GENOCIDE, people!

It’s also, frankly, a little silly.

The video depicts an American police state in which Gingers are rounded up and brutally exterminated, and by “brutally” I mean, in that beautiful cinematic way–replete with slow motion effects, big budget explosions, and a pastel desert sky–that filmmakers tend to favor, paradoxically, when they’re supposed to be showing you that killing is anything but beautiful.

And, YES, it’s a metaphor, but it’s also–as people have already pointed out–a South Park episode from 2005. A very funny South Park episode that made me giggle. Is that the desired effect of “Born Free,” to make people giggle at genocide? No? Then pick a better metaphor. Besides, Ginger-Hate is too trendy for M.I.A., it’s too cute.

But where this video really goes awry is with the song itself. “Born Free” sounds a whole lot like 9 minutes of you sitting on your bedroom floor, playing your records backwards. In other words, it’s kinda terrible. Especially for someone like M.I.A., who’s genius at delivering a message with a mean hook (see: “Paper Planes”).

About her music, M.I.A. has been quoted in the past as saying:

“Nobody wants to be dancing to political songs. Every bit of music out there that’s making it into the mainstream is really about nothing. I wanted to see if I could write songs about something important and make it sound like nothing. And it kind of worked.”

And therein lies the problem: “Born Free” sounds like nothing alright…but can you dance to it?


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Leave The Creepy Russian Ice Dancers Alone!

February 22nd, 2010 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

Last night, controversial Russian Ice Dancers Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin revealed their toned-down Aboriginal-themed costumes during the free skate performance that brought them to a current bronze medal position.

What a difference a few leaves make

Hmm. We’re still searching for the “interesting,” “respectful” and “Southeast Asian” nuances that this team keeps referring to regarding their costumes. Surely all of that “big research” they did to keep the performance authentic paid off somewhere.

Give us a few minutes days months years. This may take awhile.

[NBC Olympics: Russian Dancers Make Slight Changes To Costumes]


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DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! The Obama Bow-cklash

November 20th, 2009 | 9 comments | Posted by Diana

Obama Bow Japan

To the angry, inflammatory, right-wing pundits (like Michelle Malkin and Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh), and all of the folks that are losing sleep over the fact that President Obama (gasp!) bowed while shaking the hand of Japanese Emperor Akihito…

Kirk Walters Bow Cartoon

…there’s a fascinating new concept we’d like to introduce to you called “SHOWING RESPECT.”

Continue reading DISGRASIAN OF THE WEAK! The Obama Bow-cklash

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How To Piss Off Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Lazy Mammogram Guidelines

November 18th, 2009 | 6 comments | Posted by Diana

Did anybody else catch today’s conversation between CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Nurse Lucy Marion from the U.S. Preventive Task Force (the group that released this week’s controversial recommendation that women should begin routine mammograms 10 years later than previously determined, and perform less self-examinations–in order to prevent unnecessary “anxiety” and costly biopsy tests)?

Picture 3

We don’t have the terse/awkward video, but here’s a transcript of the throwdown:

SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: About 75 to 90 percent of breast cancers are found in women who have absolutely no family history and no identifiable risk factors. If you are a woman hearing that at age 40, right now watching, 75 to 90 percent of breast cancers found with people who have no risk factors, no family history, what should they do?

LUCY MARION, PREVENTIVE SERVICES TASK FORCE: I would not recommend it. I would not make a recommendation. We’re saying that the benefits are small.

GUPTA: What do you mean by that? When you say the benefits are small? Let’s not beat around the bush here. What exactly are you trying to say?

MARION: We look at it in various ways. For example, we look at life years gained by the actual screening every year or every other year. And the life years gained for that group is not very large. There are some life years gained. But it’s not very large.

GUPTA: You’re a nurse and…

MARION: And I know…

GUPTA: I don’t want to, you know…


GUPTA: … dig ourselves into a whole [sic] here. You’re a nurse, you’re in a profession of healing and compassion.

Are you comfortable with what you’re saying right now? Continue reading How To Piss Off Dr. Sanjay Gupta: Lazy Mammogram Guidelines

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Olympic Winners and Liu-sers

July 30th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Diana

I can just see the editorial meeting at Harper’s Bazaar:

Editor-in-Chief Jamie Huckbody tells one of the underlings that this summer is “all about the Olympics.” The staffers buzz with creative worry and focus.

“The Olympics are so hot right now.”

“But the Games are so controversial. It’s that whole China thing.”

“They’re in Beijing right now? What’s Beijing couture? Is everything silk? Silk, silk, silk!”

“No seriously. Steven Spielberg isn’t even going.”

We need something that’s like China-America fusion. China-American unity! Like PF Changs!”

“I love that. I love that!”


And so we have…

Hunh. I always knew “fusion” was a bad word. Take that, Miles Davis.

Thanks, Jasmine!

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When in Doubt, Blame Hillary

April 4th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

On Thursday, presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton found herself at the center of a new controversy, and I found myself saying, enough is enough.

Authorities in Florida arrested 20 year-old Calin Wong for allegedly threatening over the internet to re-enact the Virginia Tech mass shootings. When police raided the home Wong shares with his parents, they discovered 4 AK-47s out of 13 firearms in all and 5,000 rounds of ammo “stacked on shelves in plain view.”

Detective Antonio Aquino told the AP that, upon questioning, Wong denied he was planning a killing spree:

“He says it’s a lucrative business,” Aquino said. “He said if Hillary Clinton wins she’ll put a ban on assault rifles, and these assault rifles will be worth more in value.”

Is Wong secretly working for the McCain campaign? The NRA? Ya gotta wonder. As for Hillary potentially banning assault rifles when President, could you blame her? Especially after her harrowing experience in Bosnia, when she narrowly escaped sniper fire on the tarmac?

Poor Hill. Taking one on the chin for someone else’s homicidal tendencies. Girlfriend can’t catch a break!

Thanks, Karen!

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BABEWATCH: Kyung Chung

February 5th, 2008 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

Name: Kyung Chung

Occupation: American Apparel model and photographer

Why She’s a Babe: Because she makes us want to go out and buy puo puo (granny) glasses, even though they’d make us look like cross-eyed librarians. And she looks hot in a leotard. And because she possesses The Ass That Launched a Thousand Controversies, when a self-portrait of her booty clad only in tights went up on a American Apparel billboard in New York last fall.

Click here for the ad.
Click here to read what Kyung had to say about it.
Click here for what the Huffington Post had to say about it.

(p.s. Since it’s Super Tuesdaysian, we thought we’d mention that American Apparel endorsed Obama and McCain. Just in case you need another two cents.)


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Hot Disgrhetto Mess

August 10th, 2007 | 0 comments | Posted by Jen

So I finally got around to watching We Got to Do Better, the BET show formally known as Hot Ghetto Mess, which got a title change after a 5,000-name petition went around protesting the show.

Some of the video clips, like the one in the pilot that shows a toothless black man butchering the Star-Spangled Banner, are totally objectionable. It’s Lowest Common Denominat-Humor, laughing at people who are poor, disenfranchised, and possibly mentally ill. The show throws in clips of white people humiliating themselves for “balance,” though that just seems like a panicked network note come to life. “If we make fun of poor white people, then it will all be okay,” is how I imagine that story meeting going.

But there is one notable mess on the show, and that’s Charlie Murphy. He’s stiff and awkward as the host, as though he’s afraid of being at the center of this controversy. Does he remember that brother Eddie picked up a tranny prostitute and still managed to become the star of three children’s movies? He’s also so bug-eyed in the wraparounds that I wonder if a) he has a thyroid problem or b) someone is using really teensy script on the teleprompter to fuck with him.

I can’t help thinking that, if Dave Chappelle hadn’t gone batshit, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. Damn it!


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