Posts Tagged ‘pink’

Anaïs Nin November: Daily Batman — Always punished

November 2, 2012


All those who try to unveil the mysteries always have tragic lives.

At the end they are always punished.


(“The Mohican.” Under A Glass Jar, 1944.)

Movie Moment: Metonymy and Synecdoche in Legally Blonde

January 8, 2010

I’d like to take a moment of your time to demonstrate the intriguing and in many ways fun fetishistic metonymy in Legally Blonde (Rob Luketic, 2001). The shot list calls for the constant breaking of the women down in to digestible parts when they are focused on Warner. This is important because, to a man like that character, taken as a whole, what are we ladies? Too much to chew on, it seems. That’s my personal theory as to why scenes that involve Warner or preparing oneself for Warner so vigorously metonymize Elle and Vivian (Selma Blair). In cinema, where it functions differently than in literary criticism, this metaphorical use of small parts to symbolize the whole, and the psychological underpinnings of its use, falls beneath the aegis of metonymy but really is a better example of synecdoche.


Synecdoche, sometimes considered as a metaphor, is also a metonymical device enabling an idea or object to be indicated by a term whose meaning includes that of the original term or is included in it. The singular replaces the plural, the type the species, the abstract the concrete — or the other way round. Most of the part takes the place of the whole: a sail for the ship, a palm leaf for the tree.

As Elle becomes self-actualized during her rising success in law school, she ceases to so flagrantly feed this synecdoche, insisting on being seen as a whole person. That’s why in the next-to-final sequence, when she walks away from Warner and disappears in to the sun of the outside world, we see her entire body for only the first time from his perspective: slipping in to the haze because Warner never really knew Elle, he knew only the idea of her that he formed in his mind between her misguided visual clues and his contextualized experience of women.

More properly, if I had to put it in pretentious film school bullshit parlance, the cinematic discourse established by director Rob Luketic employs the consistent rhetorical metonymical device of synecdoche to psychologically reinforce the theme of a woman’s appearance and its attendant little kicky details being only a small part of her fuller self. The arc of the narrative allows for the falling away of this device, which further serves to underline the discursive element of metonymy and its being unnecessary to a fully-fleshed-out, dynamic character who has undergone change throughout the film. (I am so glad I quit film school. I would eat my right hand in a sandwich with razor-blades and broken glass before I put my name to and was proud of the publishing of such empty academese for a goddamned living.)



This trope is familiar in the cinema where metonymical juxtaposition becomes changed in to metaphor without the syntagma (this contiguous form) becoming paradigmatic (integrated as a fixed sign, like a lexeme, folling a substitution of meaning. The connoted meaning is objectified in to an object, which performs the function of a sign; but this objectification depends on the connotation: it does not precede it or present it ready-made.

(Semiotics and the Analysis of Film. Mitry, Jean and King, Christopher. London: Athlone Press, 2000. p. 198)

When they are grooming themselves for Warner and aiming at gaining his attention, the camera’s conversation with us shows that Elle and Vivian subconsciously understand he could never possibly grasp nor appreciate the entirety of the experience of “having” them — what will lure, fetch, and keep him are the pieces he can actually conceive of as they relate to him and fit in to his ideas of feminine symbols. Hair, feet, fingers: they can speak of wealth (Vivan) or sex (Elle) — in both cases, the women feed his vision rather than contradict it, despite it being only one small aspect of their larger identities as people. In cooperating with his metonymical synechdochized view of them, Elle and Vivian allow Warner to make them a woman first and a person second. As both of their understandings of Warner evolves, this cooperation begins to sour, and, able to see one another as people first once they have discounted his view of them as women (which made them rivals), they become friends who appreciate the unique facets of one another’s different personalities.

This is not the case with all men, not even in the film; you never see that shit getting pulled on Emmett, who sees and admires the wholeness of Elle from Day One. Look, ma: whole person!


Look, Legally Blonde is not a perfect film even at all, and I know that. It’s not meant to be psychoanalyzed, most likely, and I am also aware of that. I’m just saying it has slightly more artistic merit than most people give it credit for. That’s right: I am a Legally Blonde apologist. Alert Gloria Steinem.

I like this movie and there ain’t no shame in a name. I’m off for C-town right this red-hot minute to soak up its sunny pink silliness with Miss D. Have a great day and catch you on the flip side!

NSFW November: Tonja Christensen, Miss November 1991

November 30, 2009

And Then There Was One.

Your final Miss November is Playboy’s November 1991 Playmate of the Month, the lovely and talented Tonja Christensen. She is last because, next to Monica Tidwell and Bebe Buell, I think she is the prettiest of the girls of November. Someday I will examine my feminine beauty ideals, but not today because I’m busy. Anyway, I am afraid that, though I saved her for last because I thought she was beautiful, it is a mixed blessing; she bears the brunt of my boredom and busy-ness, because I’ve not got time nor inclination to say much about her. Going to let the interview with her do most of the talking.


Photographs by Stephen Wayda

Blonde, blue-eyed and gutsy Tonja Marie Christensen, who just turned 20, has come a long way in the past two years — 5800 miles, to be exact, the distance from West Valley City, Utah, a sleepy suburb of Salt Lake City, to cosmopolitan Barcelona, Spain’s second largest city. There, while the Catalan capital gears up for the 1992 Olympics, she’s diligently pursuing a dual career in modeling and acting. (“A Blonde in Barcelona,*” Playboy, November 1991)

Dang, I forgot there even was a Summer Olympics in Barcelona. There are new ones coming up, you know. Everyone hurry and get jingoistic about sports! Also, buy Doritos!!

*Gracious, that is just a damned ridiculous title. Barcelona is from where many a blonde Spaniard hails. Everyone knows that there are tons of hot (and not) fair people in Spain. With over 3 million people living in the city at the time of Tonja’s residency, I sincerely doubt she stood out because of her hair color in any way, shape, or form. You may just as well have said, “A two-legged person,” or even “A person from another country who lives” … “in Barcelona.” Jesus. What a stupid, Americanized view of what Spanish people look like to advance. Shame on you, Playboy: I expect you to be more international and dashing and man-of-foreign-knowledgey than that.


Our Miss November was one of nine children, an example she doesn’t plan to follow. “I believe families should be three or four children at most,” she says.

An intriguing viewpoint for a girl from Utah. Goodness knows, I know the playmates do not like it when assumptions are made about their religion (see last entry for a brave girl who was not embarassed to be of an identifiable faith and culture) … but … come on. Hint, hint, ya know?

Two things weird me out totally about the above shot.

  • Her arm hair has, like, its own set of dewy crystalline eye lights shining in it.
  • Her pubic hair has been either dyed or cell-painted to match her fake (though lovely!) head-hair color. In the previous shots it is dark.
  • See, I have a couple rules of thumb for gentlemen who want to imagine ladies sans clothing — I know you are few and far between because that is like, so gross, what with our widely-documented girl cooties and all, but bear with me for the sake of those perverse and unhappy freaks among you who actually picture women naked — and I am happy to share them. First, a lady’s pubic hair is nearly always the same shade as the coarse hair of her brows. So lay the drapes aside altogether, discard their color completely, and, unless you are pretty sure the gal you are gawking at has bleached or somehow cosmetically altered them, her eyebrows are your best bet as to the color of the carpet.

    Similarly, the color of her lips without the aid of gloss, lipstick, rouge, permanent surgical lining assistance, or any other type of makeup is your leading predictor of the color of her nipples. Finally, a few shades darker but in the same family of hues as the lips and “nips” follow the labia (those can get rosier/darker brown depending on her arousal level and whether she is Northern European or has stronger Sapphardic Jew DNA — Caucus mountains and Eastern/Southern Europe are less pink and more browny-purple, and obviously your ladies from Africa and its subcontinent follow suit in deeper shades as well). Take those tips to the bank, y’all. You’re welcome!

    Wow, I did not even realize there was a time when LaToya Jackson did not look like a total freak made of 90% post-consumer recyclable parts. She looks comparably human here. You’d think one of her psychic friends would have warned her of the Madamism syndrome of too much plastic surgery! Better luck in your next life, LaToya.