Amanda Marcotte is the executive editor of Pandagon.net and the author of the book, It's A Jungle Out There: The Feminist Survival Guide to Politically Inhospitable Environments. She lives in Austin, Texas.
Somehow Madonna pulled off an amazing feat during the Super Bowl: bringing gay culture and aggressive female sexuality into the heart of masculinity’s holiest of days without anyone seeming to care. While the cheerleading segment was embarrassingly silly, I otherwise have to disagree with Tom Carson’s assessment that the Super Bowl’s narrative was Clint Eastwood versus Madonna, with Clint winning. I’m more in the camp of Tom’s friend who said, “It was Clint AND Madonna.”
If you’re looking to get into the pants of a feminist, wonkish liberal, make sure to work Parks and Recreation into your sweet nothings. The hit NBC show's main character, Leslie Knope—a hyper-competent assistant parks director played by Saturday Night Live-alumna Amy Poehler—is one of those rare female comic characters who is allowed dignity along with competence. The sitcom is a love letter to the hard-working government bureaucrats who keep our streets clean and our communities safe only to find their work repeatedly bashed by pandering Republicans looking to score points against so-called big government.
With all the election-season ugliness, the announcement of the nominations for the 84th Oscars provide a welcome relief—at least until they remind us that Hollywood is largely in the business of telling the stories of straight white men.
Judging when to use tabloid stories as teaching moments on issues regarding race, gender, and class isn’t always easy. Sometimes the connection is clear, as when bloggers and activists used the Chris Brown/Rihanna blowup to raise awareness about domestic violence. Other times, a point can’t be found, no matter how hard one may try. The scandal surrounding Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s baby, recently born at at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, is a classic example of this sort of overreach.
In the midst of dour economic times, it shouldn't have really been a surprise that the new Fox show Glee charmed audiences. Glee has the same appeal that Susan Boyle, awkward celebrities on Dancing With The Stars, and contestants on American Idol posses -- the populist joy of watching the little guy get his due. Glee does this while also sweeping up more cynical viewers with a heavy dose of snark and camp. The show returns tonight and can expect an audience eager for more corny songs and campy plot twists, as well as howlers issued from the ever-funny Jane Lynch, who plays a character that is probably the best TV villain in recent history.