Here I am, entering the world of blogging! Right now, I intend to use this blog as a vehicle for unwinding many of the inter-spinnings of my brain as I consume vast amounts of television and comics. With my critical eye, intersectional feminist slant and art history background, I will peruse pop-culture topics (and occasional “capital A” Art) here for your reading pleasure. Some of the posts might be simple reviews, set spinning with my excited fan-ness; others will be cultural critique, noting instances in pop-culture that warrant my intellectual analysis. I might also simply write about issues that get me going, like the body shaming and jokes about perceived intelligence that were shot at Charlotte McKinney on Dancing with the Stars: Season 20 (Really Bruno? Dyslexics are not stupid, we are typically quite smart). I may also geek-out into issues of continuity, plot holes and character development as needed.
As I mentioned above, I have a background in art history. Throughout my studies, I found myself drawn to areas in art history that were definitely art, but often not deemed “fine art” within the sometimes stodgy discipline. This included comics, printmaking, book illustration, textiles, scientific illustration and maps. While I am also an artist who produces fine art intended to be hung on the wall and contemplated, I also enjoy having much of my art be affordable, as in some of my prints, or serve a function, such as a coloring book.
Back to the topic: Essentially, popular culture is the culture created by and for the people. Fine art often assumes an intention of “refined” culture, one gotten from education, a subtlety of taste and a dash of pretense. This is, by all means, elitist. But does culture experience change through a $50,000 painting in an art gallery? Or is it the popular culture that creates the waves of cultural change? I feel they both have the potential, as does everything in between, but the latter is often written off as frivolous. Now, was the Scandal episode The Lawn Chair frivolous? No. It spoke directly to, and critiqued a reality in American culture that needs to change; the dis-proportionate killing of unarmed black men and women by police who are rarely help accountable for their actions.
Television offers a great medium to open these topics up for discussion in people’s living rooms beyond the view of whatever news channel is reporting. The dramatic narrative of a fictional character can help people understand the human side of the problems we face. This is even more apparent with Netflix shows and cable shows that do not have to answer to network limitations. Both Daredevil and Treme tackled issues of gentrification and developers screwing over the most marginalized of people in a city; one in a fictional universe where aliens destroyed Hell’s Kitchen, and the other in a very realistic post-Katrina New Orleans.
Independent comics have been using the medium to discuss many important cultural issues, but the mainstream comics are finally starting to do so too by diversifying characters and writers. (We could still use more women artists at Marvel and DC though; I’m getting tired of the “I have no muscles, a tiny waist and huge tits that always have hard nipples” look of my female superheroes. We need them to look like they kick ass.)
So, this blog is here for me to provide critique to our contemporary popular culture, or as the brilliant Janet Mock put it on her show So Popular on Shift at MSNBC, I will chip away at “…the things you pretend you’re too smart to like, in an effort to expand what’s considered political and worthy of analysis.” BTW, if you are not watching her show, online on Fridays, you need to! I will provide links once I figure out how to embed them, until then you can use the google machine to find it yourself.
End transmission one.