Posts Tagged ‘Reese Witherspoon’

Daily Batman: Girl Talk

July 6, 2010


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I think there was a board game called “Girl Talk” when I was young but if it was ever played at a party I was either not invited or in some other room reading Bunnicula. Probably both. I think there was a game called that, at least … shoot. Now that’s bugging me … I’m giving it a googly-moogly.


Girl Talk was one of a rash of “teenage girl-themed games” that appeared on the market in the 80s and 90s based around boys, talking on the phone, dancing, having parties and sleepovers, and other “girl-ish” themes.

Like, omgz! Gag me with a spoon! Math is hard!


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It was similar to Truth-or-Dare. … Each action (or question) is worth a certain amount of points. If you did not perform the action or answer the question, you had to wear a zit sticker. Some people actually thought the zit stickers were fun as well.[citation needed]

“Citation needed.” I should fucking well say so! None of that sounds fun even at all: it just sounds like junior high gym class.


Guess who likes you in this talking telephone game. I’m guessing that boy who threw the music stand at me and keeps riding his bike by my house wearing black socks with teva sandals. I always attract the sanest, winningest dudes on the planet.

All that is missing from that game description being my eighth grade P.E. period is me trying to grab my clothes and get them on as quickly as possible before Jamie Sawyer [not her actual name but in case she has turned her life around I do not want her to feel persecuted] gets done in the bathroom (having no need to change clothes, as she refused to dress for gym class, she would merely use the changing time to reapply her layers upon layers of black under-eye liner) and starts roaming the locker room looking for things to steal and people to punch.


This is strikingly close to Jamie’s middle school “look,” including the hickey from specious older sources, only she also teased her hair up very high in the front.

The first several weeks that my old friendoh Tweaky Lawn was at our school, she had transferred from Texas as a pre-established rather badass bully and all-around riot grrl and needed to establish herself in the ladies’-prison-yard-style pecking order of the middle school ne’er-do-wells, so she had winning scuffles with some scattered pretenders to the crown of All Time Baddestass Girl.

I heard a rumor one Friday morning on the bus that Tweaks was going to fight aforementioned thief, boxer and brigand Jamie Sawyer (basically a girl pirate in Doc Martens) but found that too incredible to be true. She had only just got here, and who would invite flannel-fist enclosed, painful death by pummeling like that? To voluntarily choose for that half-inch of eyeliner and, I shit you not, nearly-foot-high mound of teased bangs to be the last thing I ever saw?


Like this only shitty and too much so that you look tired and cheap.

No, thank you. I told the person who told me they’d heard from reliable sources about Tweaky Lawn’s intention to fight Jamie that Tweaks was smarter than that and it couldn’t be so. Jamie was more than a bully or tough girl, she was heading toward being a full on junior psychopath who regularly terrorized people she considered weaker than she with more than normal relish, like, picking on the special kids and working herself in to a froth cussing out teachers who were like 100 years old. She also liked to set fires. (I know, right? Aileen Wuornos much??) I figured Tweaky wouldn’t get herself tangled up with that, even if she had mentioned that “that bitch” needed “her attitude adjusted.”

Shortly after lunch the news came down through gossip channels that both girls had been suspended, and I wondered over the weekend what the outcome had been. I really liked Tweaky by then and I hoped she hadn’t been hurt too badly and wouldn’t be embarassed.


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I found out those fears were in vain when Jamie came in to our first period gym class that following Monday. She haughtily refused to look at anyone but actually went to her locker and pulled out sweatpants and a properly labeled “‘J. Sawyer,’ S__ Tigers” shirt that I did not even know she had and started putting them on like it was something she always intended to do. Two of her fingers were taped together with a splint. For once she wore no makeup, because not only was one eye black, but the other was nearly so and was also entirely red from the outer corner to her pupil — Tweaky had broken the blood vessels. I’ve always viewed her as a kind of lady Hercules since then.


The story has to do with this.

The story of how Tweaky and I met, when I gave her a bloody nose and shockingly lived to tell the tale, I will save for another day. I told it to my eighth graders when subbing last February and it apparently made the rounds of the small private Catholic school at which I substitute teach — where you have a conference with your teacher and the principal if you have below a B in a subject — and was such a popularly horrific tale of the gritty public school world that when I subbed in the seventh grade a few weeks later, I was scarcely done with attendance before they demanded to hear the story firsthand.

Wow. All donesies. This has been your Girl Talk edition of the Daily Batman.

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!

Daily Batman: Reflections on ladyhood and gal pals

January 8, 2010

Gotham Sirens, which I have mentioned before, is part of the Batman: Reborn series. Art by Dini and March.

It’s all well and good to fly solo now and again. But a little company makes it even more fun!

I have come to believe that no lady ever really stands alone. Even if she does not appreciate it at the time, she is surrounded by a network of friends and family who have been everywhere she has and are there to support her in times of trouble and toast with wine in time of plenty.

Gal pals: they are a Thing!

Kidlet is spending the day with her godmother going to that atrocious eye-rape Alvin and the Chipmunks 2, which I would rather drink bleach than watch. I think I’m stupider just from seeing the trailers. Let’s be sure not to leave a single memory of the 1980s with its dignity intact, okay Hollywood? Thanks, you guys are the best. Then they’re going out for lunch to the Wendy’s, which every time I enter I fantasize about burning down (I just feel like it is begging me to do it, and I genuinely believe its employees, despite losing their jobs, would wet themselves with gratitude when they arrived at that hellmouth to find it a heap of ash and rubble), so I gave them my blessing and made alternate plans. Hmm. I feel like all the sentences I just wrote make me sound very angry and solitary. Totally not the case, I’m just sick of wasting my time on materialistic bullshit and fast food poison. (Carl’s Jr. is exempt, don’t challenge me as to why!)

I am totally looking forward to an overdue girl day with Miss D in C-town. I am scootching down soon, armed with Legally Blonde and its sequel, two of my favorite feel-good popcorn flicks. We can just sit on the couch, chat when needed, and basically take a pink space rocket to Planet Veg. Will it once again be retro to be passed out on the couch when Paolo gets home from work? Only time can tell!