Open Thread for July 25, 2009

What do you enjoy doing during a gorgeous week outdoors, when you turn off your computer and television and head out for some sun and exercise?

With many of the Overthinkers on a media fast at the moment (we’re spending a gorgeous bit of summer summer together water-skiing and grilling) it’s been a light week of posting.

As we return to the dark and comforting embrace of our respective media enclaves, we will rely on you to tell us: What’s up in the world of media and culture? Anyone see Harry Potter? (Fenzel and I had a minor difference about it on our Twitter feed.)

And what do you enjoy doing during a gorgeous week outdoors, when you turn off your computer and television and stagger, bleary eyed, out for some sun and exercise?

16 Comments on “Open Thread for July 25, 2009”

  1. Trevor #

    Exercise is the nemesis of the pop-culture junkie ;-)

    I picked up She and Him’s “Chapter One” album (a full year after my indie-rock-loving peers, no doubt), and I was pleasantly surprised by actress/singer Zooey Deschanel. While not possessing the most dynamic or overwhelming voice, she has a vocal quirkiness in league with her more eccentric roles that fits the material (most of which she herself wrote). It makes me think of all the actresses-turned-singers who often earn chuckles and snide remarks from pop-culture pundits about how they’re really doing themselves a disservice. Granted, some actresses have no business singing (just like many singers have no business acting, no matter the gender). But back in the early days of showbiz, you had to be a double- or triple-threat if you wanted to stay alive creatively, so it was only natural for actors to try their hand at singing. Where did the cultural shift occur, when suddenly the idea of an actor or actress releasing an album was seen as more of an ego boost than a genunine artistic statement? When, I say, when?

    Anyway, that’s all I got.


  2. Gab #

    I saw Harry Potter- twice already. I’d love to know what the disagreement was about. My interest, ’tis piqued.

    I was blown away by all of this sudden “Obama isn’t a citizen” hogwash. Fortunately, The Daily Show came to my rescue in making fun of it, but still, it’s rigoddamndiculous.

    Also, has anyone else seen the new environmental ads by Disney? On TV, they’re commercials with Tink and some other fairies; and I saw this billboard as a magazine spread:

    I’m glad a powerhouse that charges so much for stuff (it’s like $100 to get into Disneyland now) like Disney is doing something decent like this. But I found the _Little Mermaid_ ad a little ironic, given the huge penis on the original VHS of that movie. “Keep it clean,” eh?

    Speaking of ads, I say again, since I saw a new caveman commercial: does Geico *really* need three simultaneous ad campaigns?!

    @Trevor: Did women like Catherine Hepburn or Grace Kelly get pressured to sing, too? Or men like Jimmy Stewart? I’m asking sincerely, not snarkily. I don’t know about back in the day, but I think nowadays it depends on how much talent they have as to whether they get an eye-roll or an embrace.


  3. mlawski OTI Staff #

    My question of the day, since I listened to New York’s Hot 97 in the car today: can the word “shortie” refer to any kind of woman, or only one of short stature?

    @Trevor: I don’t know about actors turning into singers, but I have a comment about singers turning to actors. The other night I was flipping through the channels and chanced upon one of the serious episodes of The Fresh Prince, in which Will’s deadbeat dad (Ben Vereen!!! Awesome.) comes back into Will’s life and then promptly leaves him in the lurch again. At the end of the episode, Will positively freaks out. And let me tell you, even back then, Will Smith could ACT. I bought every second of it. Powerful stuff on Nick at Nite, my friends. Powerful stuff.

    @Gab: I don’t know if Geico needs three different ad campaigns, but, I must say, I do love that googly-eyed pile of dollar bills. Anyone else with me?


  4. DJH #

    This is a little out of date, but I bring it up because a) it seems Overthinking It like and b) I want to give Lee horrible flashbacks.

    There’s a site called Film Forensics in which the panel reviews a film, and then explores how to fix said films many problems. It’s fallen into a bit of a lull content-wise, but a few days ago they put up a review of Terminator Salvation

    Any thoughts?


  5. Gab #

    @Mlawski: I like them, too! They’re good and creepy.

    Lance Armstrong got third place. Oh noes!


  6. Hazbaz #

    I saw Harry Potter this week, and enjoyed it well enough. Was it one of the Overthinkers who commented that the Potter universe was ripe for an extended universe series? That idea has been kicking round in my head all week.


  7. lee OTI Staff #

    @DJH: you just had to put me back in the rage cage, didn’t you?

    T:S had a lot of problems with its storytelling, indeed, but chief among them to me was the failure to get you to fully buy into the characters and their motivations. I felt like it was leaning way too heavily on the Terminator mythology to make the audience care about the incomprehensible crap that was happening in the story.

    Going to stop now before this becomes a massive rant…


  8. Ryan #

    @Gab: How long until the dollar with the eyeballs has its own ABC pilot?


  9. Gab #

    @Hazbaz: Elaborate on “extended universe” please? More books or movies or something? There will be a “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” at Universal Studios in Orlando in 2010…

    @Lee: Xanax.

    @Ryan: ::headdesk:: I pray never.


  10. Hazbaz #

    @Gab In my mind. it’s something analagous to the Star Wars Novels. I think the universe is well constructed enough that we don’t neccessarily need Harry to be the centre of all the stories. Is there a Muggle government department for dealing with Wizards? What other wizarding schools are there, and do wizards have universitys? What about America and the Far East? These are questions that I would be interested in seeing the answers to.


  11. Gab #

    @Hazbaz: JKR announced when the seventh book came out that there will be an “encyclopedia” with more details and stuff written by her. For now, your only resource is… fanfic.


  12. stokes OTI Staff #

    @Mlawski – I’m hardly the authority to whom one should turn, but I believe that “shortie” can mean either 1) a child of either gender or 2) a girlfriend or 3) a prospective girlfriend. There’s a certain power dynamic inherent in the term – you probably wouldn’t call your boss shortie, even if you were trying to sleep with her – but I don’t think height has anything to do with it.

    The use of the word “baby” is actually pretty similar (although baby is a unisex term). It also might be useful to compare the Japanese “-chan” suffix.


  13. Gab #

    @Stokes: So when men sing about a “li’l shortie across the dance floor,” they’re thinking long-term, are they? ;) I’m half-serious, though. Whenever *I* hear that word used, it’s usually in a somewhat demeaning, objectifying manner. And I don’t see how comparing it to “-chan” is useful. “-chan” is used for younger people of either gender or close friends, and “-kun” is used instead of “-chan” if the subject is a male, and “-san” is used if the subject is older or the speaker does not know them well. In any case, the suffix is meant to denote familiarity and/or status, not desire or attraction the way “shortie” is. I guess the power dynamic sort of creates a comparison, but it’s a different kind of power difference, one of sexual dominance in the case of “shortie” versus age and/or social status in the case of “-chan.”


  14. stokes OTI Staff #

    Hey! I said to *compare* “-chan,” not that it is a direct one-to-one translation of shortie. Don’t you find it at all interesting that it can be used for children or (in some contexts) romantically, just like “baby” or “shortie” can? There seems to be something persistant and cross-cultural about bringing the language of childhood into the language of romance (also consider the German “Liebchen,” which generally translates as sweetheart, but literally means something like “infant-lovèd”) and it would be silly to talk about the double meaning of shortie without pointing out the broader trend.

    Second, I don’t doubt that you’ve only heard shortie used in a somewhat demeaning, objectifying manner, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ve heard the word in every context in which it is used. Listen to less rap (which, when it turns to affairs of the heart, tends to be about hooking up) and more R&B (which spends a lot more time dealing with long term relationships, whether successful or failed). “I see a honey on the dancefloor” is pretty objectifying too, but that doesn’t mean the word honey is never used in any other way.


  15. Hazbaz #

    @Gab “For now, your only resource is… fanfic.”

    I don’t know if you intended it to be read this way, but I could totally hear the “dun dun DUUUN” after this sentence.


  16. Gab #

    @Stokes: Well said. I guess I hadn’t thought of the age thing in that way- what a cool insight. I’ve never heard “shortie” in an R&B song that I can recall- any recommendations?

    @Hazbaz: 100% intentional. ;p


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