July 29, 2014

Garfield understands


I know a lot of people who are into comics love to hate on Garfield because it's pretty much the opposite of edgy and the cartoonist, Jim Davis, has never hidden that he's only in it for the money. I don't care. Garfield rocks. This is a sticker from 1978 I found scanned on Tumblr.

July 21, 2014

DiE


BiS stands for Brand-new Idol Society. They were a Jpop idol girl's group... kind of. Traditionally, Japanese idols are presented as chaste, happy, and cute. They meet with fans, laugh a lot in interviews, and do fashion photo shoots. And they acquire legions of sometimes-creepy fans and pretty much give up a normal life in the process.

BiS's purpose was to take the traditional image of the idol and blow it to pieces. The group leader, Pour Lui, sought the craziest and weirdest people from auditions instead of the prettiest or the most talented. They played with punk bands, collaborated with the noise band Hijokaidan, and stage dove at their shows. They did things that flew in the face of the "rules" of idol groups. They filmed PVs nude, with shaved heads, with horror-movie makeup, with fake tattoos, covered in dirt and blood. In the videos, they made out with each other, tortured guys, were beheaded and crucified. In one they actually stuck endoscopic cameras down their throats, taking invasiveness to new heights.

Basically, their image is a reaction to and rebellion against the ridiculous standards and underlying problems of idol culture. It's accepted for idols to make sexualized videos, sometimes with lesbian subtext, while retaining a clean and sweet image. It's normal for idols to have and meet and pander to their obsessive male fans, even if it exposes them to the potential for uncomfortable encounters, stalking, and even attacks. It's expected that idols be constantly polished and pretty and happy. It's expected that idols share their thoughts, dreams, and lives with their fans while sacrificing their own. I'm guessing you can see how BiS's image relates. They wanted to make people question these norms. They didn't want to make people love them. They wanted to make them uncomfortable.

I'm not sure how much they've succeeded with the former, but by God have they managed the latter. Their videos have a huge amount of dislikes and nasty comments on youtube and apparently they were pretty hated in Japan.

Now, with all that in mind... here is the video for DiE. The girls are presented in contexts that could easily be sexual: in bed, in lingerie, in the shower. But at the same time, it's shown in the least sexy manner possible. They aren't wearing makeup or posing. They're crying, visibly uncomfortable, or just plain emotionless. One is trying to hide. The surroundings are unremarkable and sometimes dark and dingy-looking. The lyrics read like an existential crisis. The overall effect is extremely uncomfortable, like we're seeing something we're not supposed to see. But at the same time, is it really that different from, for example, this extremely popular slumber-party AKB48 video laden with fanservice and hints at voyeurism? What exactly makes this, as one commenter put it, "ugly and dirty?" Does it kill the sexy when the girls show emotions besides happiness and express discomfort with their sexualization?

I think some of BiS's points are relevant for American pop culture, too.

The information in this post is from various sources, including my own knowledge of BiS, but this article from Vice was very helpful and if you're interested in the group you should definitely check it out.

July 16, 2014

The Return

Hi, everyone. I decided to care about my online presence again, because I don't know, I might need it for something later. Is it cool to be honest about that? Probably not. Seriously, though, I think that after taking some time off I have a lot of new stuff to write about here. Besides, Perfume just dropped a new EP and it's fucking incredible and it inspired me.

Anyway, so yeah. It's summer. I have a vaguely interesting job. I'm still trying to figure my life out and stuff. And I am working on A Project which you will all definitely hear about in September or so.

Now, I'm going to get to queueing.

March 29, 2014

This is not goodbye forever

Until the end of this semester (mid-May), don't expect any posts. Too much schoolwork. Sorry. If you just can't get enough of me, feel free to check out my tumblrs. Otherwise, see you then.


March 3, 2014

The Tim Trilogy


The Replacements hated music videos. They even devoted a song to how much they hated them. But then they signed to a major label and they forced them to make a few because they wanted them to be the Next Big Alternative Sensation. So the Mats decided that if they had to make music videos, they were going to make the most halfass boring ones in the world. You have to admire that kind of dedication to obscurity. 

Yes, I did say "ones." They made three of these.

 "Left of the Dial" is a different clip of the exact same thing. It doesn't include the guy putting on the record, it's in black and white, and there are other little differences to show it's a different take, but you're still just staring at a speaker and a guy smoking a cigarette. (This is one of my favorite songs ever, by the way.) 

"Bastards of Young" is the not-so-grand finale of this trilogy. Yes, once again you get to watch a speaker and a guy smoking a cigarette, but at the end, something actually happens! Just to add to the general laziness, there's a little bit of the song after "Bastards of Young" at the very end, like they couldn't even be bothered to cut off the video when they were supposed to. Even though I adore this song, I cannot stand watching this video because "Bastards of Young" is sped up or pitched up the tiniest bit and it makes me irrationally mad. (Here's the album version if you want to compare. I'll wait.) I like to imagine they did this on purpose, as one last fuck you to everyone watching.