Saturday, December 26, 2009

Cranky little art-icle I wrote for a great pop-culture site:

The Top 10 Emerging Artists of the Decade, on

Enjoy - and if you do, Digg it (if you know what that means), share the link, comment away, all that stuff.

I'm hoping to write more for Heavy in the near future.  It's definitely worth checking out if you haven't seen the site before.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Native Americans (First Nations, etc) can't get a fair shake

One of the issues that we've talked about a lot in Rebecca's class over the last few weeks was representations of and by the natives in North America.  I'm going to post images from children's books that casually (and seemingly without malicious intent) reiterate embarrassing and damaging stereotypes about Native Americans, but in the meantime, let's head down to South America to check out this appalling Brazilian TV clip from 1989, featuring the kinderpop star Xuxa. (who was pretty much the #1 cultural icon in Brazil in the 80s, aside from perhaps the soccer player Pele).

"Playing like Indians"?

It's amazingly painful to watch for many reasons, from her feathered headdress and maracas to the bopping blonde teenagers in marching-band uniforms, and ESPECIALLY the massively condescending inclusion (and simultaneous sidelining) of "authentic" Ya̧nomamö tribesmen, who look confused and offended by the entire spectacle.

Amazonian natives are some of the most threatened tribes in the New World, what with their being based in rainforest that is disappearing at a rapid clip (due not only to expansion by the hegemonic Brazilian culture but also, of course, due in large part to Western industrial agriculture). It sort of makes me wish that the tribesmen would act like the "meanest people on Earth" stereotype levied on them by anthropoligists such as Napoleon Chagnon - whoever planned and actuated this performance might well have deserved to be beaten to death with a log and cannibalized.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The new landing page on the HEMA website incredible.

It plays with the "general store" concept, playing up just how broad a range of (useful and quotidian) objects HEMA sells.  It makes you pay attention to each object separately, but recognize them as part of a unified whole.  And it teaches me that the word for "highlighting marker" in Dutch is "neonstift."

I can only imagine that the people in charge of the websites for Target and Ikea are scrambling right now to catch up.

One problem I have, though:  the word they use for a portable stereo is ghettoblaster.  But then, this is the country whose version of Santa Claus is escorted to children's houses by his slaves:

Needless to say, as terrible as our country is at racial politics, this sort of Santa, and even that sort of phrasing for the portable stereo ("boom box"?) after, say, Reagan's first term, just wouldn't fly.