Do you indulge in behaviors that you know are bad for you? Ida already knows. It’s OK.
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Both the New York Times and The Nation came out with a new list of new buzzwords that entered our popular culture in 2010. I used to get great pleasure out of taking a word or phrase that was well known and use it in a completely unrelated to reality way. I would start a story with the words in the Sylvia School of Writing and ask my students to complete the story in 500 words or less using the new word 3 more times. See some examples below from the new lists. If you are moved to use a new word in a new way, please do.
Here are some of the word on the New York Times list: Vuvuzela, enhanced pat down, the Justin Beiber, coffice, mansplainer, mamma grizzly, poutrage, robosigner and put-back , junk shot, and GZM. Click HERE to read the article “The Words of the Year” in the New York Times.
Here are the words on The Nation‘s list: Mamma Grizzly, man up, death panel, The Constitution!, deficit, tax cuts for all Americans, Government Takeover of Health Care, This is a blue car, Change that matters and Blue D logo, Teabagger, False Equivalency, Driving the car into the ditch, the right side of history, Sarah Palin. Click HERE to read the article “The Top Political Buzzwords of 2010″ in The Nation.
Don’t get me wrong. I am unbelievably grateful for streaming video. My Roku—and I love that it’s called Roku because all things Japanese are wondrous to me, and as far as I know it’s the only streaming video method that has a real name as opposed to MP3, and that is so romantic –
Anyway! Last night, after watching as many new and old “Southland” episodes as I could stand, I looked at my listings on streaming video. This is where the angst starts. I can’t find anything I like. When I first got Roku, I asked a friend why all the movies that Netflix offered seemed terribly old. He explained that Comcast and pay-per-view TV were in a battle to the death and currently at a legal standstill with Netflix. Netflix thus is forbidden to offer newer movies because, if it did, its competitors might as well leap off a bridge. I thought that was the best part of capitalism.
Okay, I can wait until the lawyers hash it out. A friend of mine insists there are plenty of films to watch. She sent me her Netflix list. She listed hundreds of films. That woman will watch anything. I am more selective, which is why I watched The Ramen Girl, with Brittany Murphy, in which a young American woman, after being abandoned by her boyfriend in Tokyo, starts hanging out at a local ramen noodle house and cries and badgers the unpleasant old chef into teaching her how to make Ramen. The secret is in the broth. His broth can make unhappy people chuckle. Hers makes them cry, which is why a year later she opens a ramen restaurant in Manhattan.
I am happy I saw this film because it confirms my theory that you can make a film about anything and have it produced if certain conditions are met. Sometimes while watching a movie I wonder if all these actors were friends of the guy who wrote it. I imagine they were between big films and they thought, what a hoot, we’ll all get together and make this lame movie and get a chance to hang out. Who can blame them?
The trouble is, I find myself wandering around the room—straightening the cat’s fur, fluffing pillows—during most of the film. But then, at the end, having falling under its spell between fluffing and taking out the trash, I force friends to listen to me retell the entire story…the friends I have left.
Which is the case with Leaves of Grass (directed by Tim Blake Nelson) and Two Brothers and a Bride (starring Tim Blake Nelson). Order them or I will have to come over and act out all the roles. Sometimes a friend drops by and brings one of her favorite films. The only thing I remember about one particular Altman film is its creepiness. I didn’t remember it was mesmerizing because I was busy being uneasy and fluffing pillows. 3 Women—a great ride. Watch it or I’ll have Suzy come over and tell you about it.
A recommendation: The Art of the Steal, a documentary about the stealing of the Barnes Collection by the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Fascinating and terribly sad to watch.
I just watched the video of Sarah Palin responding to the Arizona shootings, in which she calls “blood libel” the suggestion that inflamed rhetoric is partly to blame for the shootings. Why did she use that particularly loaded term? Is it merely another case of her mangling language? Perhaps she knew Gabrielle Giffords is Jewish, and the association of Jews with “blood libel” leapt into her unconscious. She seems to have little control of her unconscious, and no filter in place. Maybe it’s a disorder, something like Tourette’s syndrome, and one that’s especially painful. Here’s a quote from the VanityFair.com article “Sarah Palin Sure Isn’t Making Up Words Like She Used To”:
“It is Palin’s invocation of the term, though, that’s made headlines. The Guardian reports: “Palin’s bizarre use of language is sure to provoke further controversy—a blood libel refers to the false claim that Jews murder children to use in religious rituals. Giffords is Jewish.”
(To read this article in its entirety, click here.)
The New York Times generously suggests that Palin was “inventing a new definition for an emotionally laden phrase.” This claim checks out: Palin’s greatest post-political joy is the retroactively intentional coining of new words and phrases.
On January 12, the term “blood libel” was trending on Twitter, suggesting that she has not lost her neologistic touch.
There you have it. “Blood libel” could go all way: the “death panels” of 2011!
I just found another phrase that Sarah could have used instead of “Blood Libel.” A fundamentalist Mormon principle that some sins are so grievous that they can only be atoned for with spilled blood. Gary Gilmore chose the firing squad (died in Utah, 1977) as a blood atonement for his crimes. Maybe that’s what she meant. Got any other possibilities?
And just for contrast: When President Obama spoke at the memorial in Arizona, he stressed healing. He reminded people that they cannot end evil in the world, but they can control the way they relate to other people. They can be kind and empathetic to others.
Sylvia and Nicole Hollander cordially invite you to the StatiCCreep Exhibition of Sequential Art at Las Manos Gallery (5220 North Clark Street) tonight from 6-10PM. Hint: Sylvia will be in the show…
Chicago has a bastion of dark horse artists that enrich the world of comic books through the imprint this city leaves on them. A certain noir factor absorbed through brick and steel-heavy architecture, inky black alleys and a history of subversive characters has worked its way under their skin.
The StatiCCreep show opens on January 14 from 6-10pm at Las Manos Gallery Chicago. It runs January 14th–February 6th, 2011.
Participating artists: Alex Wald, Andrew Pepoy, Chris Burnham, Corinne Mucha, Doug Klauba, Hilary Barta, Heather McAdams, Jeffrey Brown, Jenny Frison, Jill Thompson, Tony Akins, Nicole Hollander, Mike Norton, Mitch O’Connell, Sarah Becan, Dave Dorman, Nicole Hollander, Tim Seeley, Lucy Knisley, Gary Gianni, Steve Krakow and Bill Reinhold.