The Pussy Riot Panel

I pretty much cried the whole way home from it. And I can’t really put my finger on why. It’s kind of because those women are so brave and so very young. And kind of because the song they got busted for, which was supposed to be evidence of their religious hatred, is like Liz Phair’s “Help Me, Mary” if the building she was singing about was her church, not her home,  and the thieves all Putin. You know, mixed with some Sex Pistols.

I’ll have more thoughts later, but man, it was good.


Hemlock Grove

1. I’m more excited for this show than it deserves. Even if it deserved a lot of excitement, I’m more excited than it deserves.

2. Yes, that’s Vampire Eric’s brother, glaring at a werewolf!

3. Which brings up an important question–Do Scandinavians possess werewolf-glaring skills that Americans lack? Is that why we have to import Scandinavians to glower at our werewolves? Is this a skill all Scandinavians have or just the Skarsgards? I’m 1/8th Swedish. Does that give me the ability to effectively side-eye 1/8th of a werewolf? And which 1/8th? Or are my dirty looks only 1/8th as effective as someone fresh from Scandinavian soil? Is this why there are no shows about werewolves set in Minnesota? How can we safely test this theory? Can we hire Joe Manganiello to stand in front of us and judge which one of our stoic looks of mild interest he finds the most disturbing?

3.5 How does that even go? A boy and his mom are sitting at the breakfast table and he’s all, “Well, I’m off to seek my fortune in America, being a werewolf-glarer. I’ll write as soon as I find work.” “You come from a long line of werewolf-glarers, son. Your uncle Ollie once stared down three werewolves at once. Your grandfather saved Stockholm from the Great Werewolf Infestation of ’68 by withering looks alone. Go, and make me proud.”

4. I could laugh about this all day. And Alyssa is going to let me write about it for Think Progress next week.

5. I never thought my “Scandinavia” category would get so much use. But here we are.

Snow White and the Huntsman

I caught the Butcher and the Red-Headed Kid watching Snow White and the Huntsman and I sat down and watched them watch it, because, it quickly became apparent they were watching it more like a sport than a movie. They cheered when someone managed some good acting. They cringed when the acting was particularly bad. They did a lot of cringing.

I haven’t watched any of the Twilight movies but I was struck in this one with Kristen Stewart’s amazing blankness. It’s not about her acting. I mean, there are other terrible actors in the world. And, who knows? She might be a fine actor. This just wasn’t the movie for displaying it. She just has this quality of being… I don’t know quite how to explain it. But there’s something about her presence on-screen that encourages you to imagine yourself in her spot. She becomes, somehow, almost not there. There’s just a girl-sized hole where she should be into which the viewer is invited to pour herself.

It’s the damndest thing. And not that I want to watch any of the Twilight movies, but seeing her in this made it easier for me to understand their popularity.

It also made it easier for me to sympathize with her weird relationship with the public in general. I can’t think of another star in my lifetime (or ever, but I’m curious if there’s been another) whose appeal is that she’s like a video game avatar for her public.

I don’t know if I’m quite getting at what I noticed about her. Because it occurs to me that of course a lot of stars are just the public image their fans want and of course a lot of stars are just the fantasies their publicists sell the public. But this is something, it seems to me, beyond that. This isn’t “Imagine if you were Kristen Stewart.” This is her ability (is it an ability? I’m not sure.) to disappear while right in front of you leaving room for you to imagine yourself in her spot–“Imagine if Kristen Stewart were you.”

We treat a lot of our stars like they are characters in movies–or that they are the characters they play in movies. But I do think that Stewart might be the first start so blatantly treated like a video game avatar, as a stand-in for the people who are imagining themselves through her.