Shaking My Head

In which I voice my disapproval of several things.

Poor People Robbing Poor People

An armed robber held up 11 customers at a market in Riverside County on Tuesday.  The haul? A whopping $6. That’s right, six. With no zeroes. Six bucks from 11 people.//A woman entered the La Chicanita market in the unincorporated town of Thermal about 3 p.m. Tuesday, according to a Riverside County Sheriff’s statement. Armed with a semiautomatic pistol, she confronted 10 customers inside the store, demanded cash, and brandished her weapon at another patron who was entering the store.

This is close to the saddest thing I have ever heard. There is nothing less dignified than someone with no money robbing someone with no money.

Irrational Fear of Things That Are “Modern;” In This Case: Church Architecture

This link goes to Rod Dreher, a Christian blogger, who has a bunch of links up to what he considers ugly churches that are in a modern architectural style. Listen, I don’t want to defend ugly buildings (and I won’t deny that there are ugly Modernist buildings), but some of the passionate response from the commenters signal to me that there is a generalized hatred of church buildings that are not in a traditional style. I was completely confused by this picture, which was held up as an example of church monstrosity:

My opinion cannot be that informed because I have never been to this church, but that looks awesome, and legitimately beautiful. Another building that is taking a hit is the new Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles (Our Lady of Angels, maybe?), which I think is a super cool building.
I can understand differences of opinion about individual works (or in this case, buildings), but it drives me batshit insane when people dismiss a piece of art because it is in a modernist style. It frustrates me that artists in the ’40s-’60s put up so much of a fight to shake up artistic expectations, and apparently that went completely over the head of the public, at least in this country.

Collectible Mad Men Barbies

The whole idea of Mad Men Barbies makes me uncomfortable. Mad Men walks a fine line between provoking modern audiences with the cultural norms of the past while at the same time reveling in them. For example, Christina Hendricks plays Joan Holloway, an “office girl” character that would be out of place in today’s workplace and inappropriate for television (because of the sexist nature of her position, not her appearance). This anachronism is highlighted through clothes that accentuate her ample curves in a way that is not the norm any more. At the same time, that focus on her curves is done with the exact kind of gaze that you would get from men in the ’60s. Another example is found in the omnipresence of smoking: today’s message that people shouldn’t think of smoking is cool is so ingrained that the show shock it’s audience by… showing cool people smoking.
I’m not necessarily sure that that is a failing of the show, however it’s something that I think an engaged and critical viewer should be thinking about. This Barbie business goes too far. Instead of being a stylized portrayal of the differences between today and yesterday, that kind of merchandising strikes me as simply regressive.

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