Monday, June 30, 2008
Jean Kilbourne talks about images of women in advertising and how screwed up it all is. It was a bit boring, but probably only because I've read her fantastic book Can't Buy My Love:How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel so many times that I've kind of got the idea by now.
There were a couple of guys in it who I really don't know how they sleep at night- they had a brand, with no products yet, but they were raising money on the idea that once they established their "brand" and their "targets", they could sell nearly anything. I hated them.
The CEO of Swatch was another major focus, and he had some very interesting things to say about his brand definition.
Coming as it did from the marketing side of things, it wasn't very critical of the idea that people define their identity through what they buy, but one of the commentators (who must have had a major Warhol fetish going) did talk about how back in his day, cool people wanted something unique, that wasn't a national brand name, and how the marketing machine has kind of jammed that.
But- this one I actually was interested in the plot of, because I had no idea that Muslim immigration was an issue in that area too... I knew that that was a huge thing in other areas nearby, but somehow thought that these small towns and villages were remaining more homogenous, but the whole plot of this book hinged on the difficulties of assimilation, and I just really... wish it hadn't.
Also, I must say I wish Constable Evans hadn;'t married Bronwen. I think a HUGE part of the fun of the Hamish Macbeth's by M.C. Beaton is Hamish mooning over Priscilla while Elspeth, Freda, etc ad infinitum are all so much better suited for him, and the possibilities of romance and the continual confusion and awkward meetings at the Italian restaurant add a lot of fun, and after the first Constable Evans book, I was looking forward to more of the same with Betsy the Barmaid and Bronwen the schoolteacher and so on.
But still, lovely to read the names of the towns.
Ah-ha! Well, these are a *lot* like the Hamish Macbeth mysteries, but set in North Wales instead of Scotland, in an imaginary town called Llanfair*, which seems to be in between Conwy and Caernarfon, and Constable Evans keeps going to Llandudno, Colwyn Bay, Prestatyn, and so on, which is wonderful beyond all reason.
This one was set around an Eisteddfod at Harlech.
PS. I pay absolutley no attention to the plots of these, so I haven't got a clue if it's a good mystery.
* Definitely not Llanfairpwllgwyngychgogerychwyrndrobwllllantisiliogogogoch.
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
I enjoyed this, but it was kind of painful- crueler than A Mighty Wind or Waiting For Guffman or Best in Show (all of which I love.) Catherine O'Hara just freaking broke my heart, and even though sure, I was laughing, I almost didn't want to watch the rest of the movie.
Ouch, buddy. I wish Christopher Guest would get back to funny funny, not funny-ouch.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Very funny, a little manipulative. Ending was gross.
I've heard/read whatever so much about Apatow's movies that I'm glad I finally saw one, but although it was pretty funny, I'm not really sold. I did like the shrooms/Vegas/Cirque/chair scene though. Wish there'd been more of that.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Fun, quick mystery. I love the Hamish MacBeth ones, but I can't stand the Agatha Raisins.
I love the Scotland setting so much, actually, that I've spent hours ogling Outer Hebrides real estate and looking at crofter's cottages all over bloody Scotland. More expensive than you'd think! Seems like it's about 30k pounds even for a crumbly lonely one with tons of repairs to be done. Well a girl can dream.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Interesting YA book with an exceedingly unrealiable narrator. Hope Shay is an ex teen actress, writing about the events that led up to her exile in boarding school- or is she? Good read, fast, but so well written and I loved the Shakespeare bits.
One quibble: If Hope has watched so many movies (mentioned all through the book), it seems really unlikely that she never saw Baz Lurhmann's Romeo+Juliet, in which Claire Danes' Juliet acts like a spoiled 14 year old.
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Friday, June 6, 2008
This was fantastic, bizarre, tear-making, hope-filling, funny, and so very
very strange. It was a delight.
Damien is an English 11 year old obsessed with saints and his dead mother,
and he finds a bag of cash, weeks before the pound switches to the euro. (Yeah,
I know- but go with it!)He and his 14 year old brother try to spend it all,
without their dad finding out.
It was such an odd book, but I loved it.
Well, Haddix is so bang-you-over the head with the point, but this was pretty good anyway.
13 year old Jessie lives with her parents in 1840's Indiana, in a small frontier town. Children being dying of diptheria, and her mother, the town midwife, tells Jessie that she needs to get help from outside- that it's really 1996, and that their entire world is a tourist attraction, and that all the adults had volunteered to 'live in the 1840's" for various reasons of their own. Jessie has to deal with that, and with the modern world, to try to find out why they are being denied modern medicine.
Interesting idea, but Haddix isn't the kind of writer that makes it alive- the idea is great, the story is cool, but the words and dialogue feel stale and dated already. (the whole 1840's thing aside). Funnily enough though, I did watch that "Colonial House" show on PBS where the people volunteered to live like the Plymouth settlers, and wondered about the ethics involved with the kids on that show, so I guess Haddix was on to something.
Vey good book about the sexualization of young girls and the impact that marketing sexy to young girls can make on their futures. I'd say it was fantastic if I hadn't read it before, but I have, so it was kind of like, Yeah, I knew that, but if I hadn't known it already, I'd be filled with rage, you know what I mean?
Everyone gets the tattoo- so why doesn’t Kayla just go ahead and get it done?
“Everyone has a file,” Amber said. “There’s been a file on everyone for years.”
“But people haven’t always worn their files,” Kayla argues.
Amber shrugged, unconcerned. “What’s the difference? Walk me to class.”
“I’m going home. School feels like a cage today. I can’t sit still.”
Mitty can’t believe he has to actually use books to do his science project. Don’t his teachers know that everything is on the internet anyway? But once he starts his project, it becomes more interesting – and dangerous- than he could have ever thought. On the run from bioterrorists, will Mitty have to sacrifice himself – to save the world?
“They didn’t use Mitty’s favorite phrase, hot agent. Lethal incurable disease was their term…”
In 1290, Catherine, a 13 year old girl, the daughter of a knight, is keeping a diary of her life at her parents’ manor house. Hilarious, moving, and surprisingly vulgar and violent, Catherine’s diary is a glimpse into life 718 years ago.
From the book:
“12th DAY OF SEPTEMBER
I am commanded to write an account of my days: I am bit by fleas and plagued by family. That is all there is to say.”
This was lovely. 4 girls, living in Concord, Mass., are forced by their mothers to spend a year reading Little Women in a book club that meets once a month. Of course, the 4 girls are all very different, mall-crazy Megan, hockey-happy Cassidy, bookish Emma and Goat-Girl Jess, but the book had a gentle, warm feel to it. I enjoyed it tremendously.
From the book
“Whatever it is, I know for sure I won’t like it. Last time my mother started a sentence that way, I ended up in ballet class. Talk about total humiliation. People built like me are not meant to wear leotards. We’re maybe meant to bring in the harvest or something.”
“Do you have people waiting for you in New York?”
“That’s what I was afraid of.” He gave a brief whistle. “There are plenty of kids on their own in America but it’s hard. Harder than in Napoli. Head for Mulberry Street.”
Wonderful YA. A guy writing an anonymous, anti-consumerist blog gets his world shaken up when his blog blows up into a national movement, complete with free festivals U2 plays at. Lovely character development, strange ending for me.
Fantastic book, impossible to put down. Great read about marketing to parents, and the shocking money in the 'parenting' sector of the economy. The only quibble I have with it was that it hardly addressed the other side of the coin- that there are parents who can barely afford to feed their children, while others fret about the latest luxury strollers.