Talking 'Bout My Generation

Friday, May 30, 2008

PORK AND BEANS

Every once in a while, an amazing music video comes around that breathes new life into an ever-dwindling industry. These videos inspire creativity, innovation, and just plain fun. More importantly, they directly reflect on the cultural sentiment of their time, whether it be Michael Jackson's "Thriller," Blink 182's "What's My Age Again?", or OK GO's "Here it Goes Again". Weezer's latest masterpiece "Pork and Beans" is pure genius. A combination of all of our favorite YouTube memes, this video highlights the absurdity that consumes so much of our everyday lives. I could not love it more. It's pure camp. Its a viral video vision. And its great.
posted by Megan Anhalt at 2:58 PM 0 comments

Thursday, April 17, 2008

ABORTION ART REVEALED

Today I heard one of the single most despicable stories of my adult life. One college student Aliza Shvarts of Yale reported that she has completed her senior art project on a series of SELF-INDUCED ABORTIONS taking place over the course of 9 months. Initially, I was overwhelmed with a sense of shock and horror. Why would someone do this? Shvarts claims she did it in a way to incite discussions about the relationship of the human body, art, and governmental control. Regardless of her reasoning, this has "publicity stunt" written all over it. It is my personal analysis that this sad girl has created an elaborate hoax that the media was quick to jump on for its sensationalistic value. Observe my skepticism--

LIE #1: CONCEPTION.
Shvarts claims she received sperm from donor classmates and friends. She does not claim to have had sex with these boys, but instead to have implanted the sperm herself. Basically, home-grown artificial insemination. Really. She collected their sperm and was able to transport it to her uterus at the precise time of her ovulation. With what resources? Even the most basic "turkey-baster" method only has about a 10-15% success rate (according to wikipedia), and that's only if inserting the sperm immediately after its collection as it can only survive a few short hours in the open air.

LIE #2: "SELF-INDUCED MISCARRIAGE"
Even if Shvarts was able to get pregnant like she claimed, how she managed to continually abort it without the help of a medical professional is quite a mystery. Shvarts claims to have used so-called "abortifacient drugs," which is just one way of saying a series of herbal concoctions thought to bring about a miscarriage despite any actual medical evidence or endorcement from the FDA. Any legitimate drugs like Mifegyne(of as much as 600mg) would need to be administered by a licensed clinician and would not be available as a method of self-abortion.

LIE #3: HER HEALTH.
So say we give her the pregnancy, and the ability to self-abort it by getting her hands on some unauthorized perscription drugs, how does she explain the complete lack of concern for her own health and well-being. Such procedures and extreme perscription drug-use would have serious implications for her health, especially repeated numerous times over a relatively short series of 9 months. Side effects include serious vaginal bleeding, nausea, vomitting, and even Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. Often times drugs don't allow for a complete abortion, which would require her to see a doctor immediately to stabilize her condition. At least 8 women in the US alone have died from such drugs since 2000.
How exactly does she explain these things? That she got lucky? That her little 'science experiment/art project' was worth endangering her own life and destroying that of a "life" she herself created. Seems a little fishy to me. Either she's got a seriously malpracticed Doctor at her beck and call, or this story seems a little washed up.

So what DO we know about this "Abortion Art"?

That it includes photos of her cramping and bleeding. Any woman knows regular menstruation includes these things.

That it includes her real blood mixed with vaseline for preservation (EW). She could easily collect her monthly menstruation (as disgusting as THAT is) and use it to represent whatever it is she's trying to show.

Bottom line, we have NO proof of the pregnancy, NO proof of what drugs she used or that they actually produced her miscarriages, and NO medical documentation what-so-ever to back up her claims.

Instead all we have is the sad ramblings of a sick girl who really has no understanding or sympathy of what it really feels like to go through a miscarriage. Really, its just disgustingly sad. This is a traumatic thing that thousands of women suffer from each year, and for her to exploit it in such an irresponsible and distasteful manner...I just don't know what else to say.

**UPDATE** Just a few short hours after I could get my skeptical response posted, Yale Spokewoman Helaine Klasky issued a statement that clearly confirms my initial suspicion:
Statement by Helaine S. Klasky — Yale University, Spokesperson
New Haven, Conn. — April 17, 2008

Ms. Shvarts is engaged in performance art. Her art project includes visual representations, a press release and other narrative materials. She stated to three senior Yale University officials today, including two deans, that she did not impregnate herself and that she did not induce any miscarriages. The entire project is an art piece, a creative fiction designed to draw attention to the ambiguity surrounding form and function of a woman’s body.

She is an artist and has the right to express herself through performance art.

Had these acts been real, they would have violated basic ethical standards and raised serious mental and physical health concerns.

***UPDATE #2*** This girl is ridiculous. Svarts is refuting the claims of Yale Spokewoman Helaine Klasky, going further to attempt to offer some explanation for the exaction questions I raised above. She's standing behind her hoax to gain even more publicity. This passage is particularly telling:
"From the 9th to the 15th day of my menstrual cycle, the fabricators would provide me with sperm samples, which I used to privately self-inseminate. Using a needleless syringe, I would inject the sperm near my cervix within 30 minutes of its collection, so as to insure the possibility of fertilization. On the 28th day of my cycle, I would ingest an abortifacient, after which I would experience cramps and heavy bleeding."
I would just like to note that the 28th day coincides with the date of normal menstruation. She goes on to ADMIT that there is no proof (even for HER) that she was ever pregnant in the first place:
"Because the miscarriages coincide with the expected date of menstruation (the 28th day of my cycle), it remains ambiguous whether there was ever a fertilized ovum or not. The reality of the pregnancy, both for myself and for the audience, is a matter of reading."
Now this last bit just made me furiously angry at her pretentiousness. AMBIGUOUS? There's nothing ambiguous about it you self-important harpy. You fabricated this whole mess to gain notoriety, and made damn sure no one could refute your claims scientifically. WHAT IS YOUR POINT? That there is no way of telling the difference between regular period blood and that of a miscarriage, aside from the language assigned? You ignorant sick sad little girl. Learn some respect. The difference lies within the traumatic experience of those who go through a miscarriage, who knew unequivocally that they were pregnant and accepted their new fate as a mom, and to have all that ripped from them in one tragic moment. How dare you exploit that for your own personal gains. Its simply reprehensible.

I apologize for that last bit. This topic certainly insights passionate discourse. I strongly feel that this topic is relevant to our generation though. Fortunately for me, we have been blessed with the right to choose. The right to control the fate of our own bodies. But people have been trying to take this away for years. And to have one of our own fuel the fires of anti-abortionist claims is really devastating on so many levels.
posted by Megan Anhalt at 2:28 PM 0 comments

Friday, January 25, 2008

ALLURE OF THE AVATAR

Maybe its me, maybe its everyone, but it seems to me that the appeal of having an online representation of what you are in real life has a real allure to it. The Avatar. It comes in many forms and a person can have many different avatars. I have one for yahoo fantasy sports. One for my Nintendo Wii at home. I have random ones and ones that are just fun to have. We do so many things online these days where you could be anyone, but we refuse to give up our sense of identity. The way that we distinguish ourselves from the masses of other people surfing the net has importance to us, and in a world where you never know where your real pics will end up (I've known a few people to have their photo identity stolen via myspace and facebook), its nice to have a representation of you and your characteristics. Some people like funky avatars that express their interests, some people like to take on whole new personas. Myself, I just like to make "Mini-Me's" (like so many other people) that bear my same characteristics or that represent my interests (ie, in a tv show, etc.). Sure, there's a great deal of vanity involved in the whole process, but for me, it's also a lot of fun. It's all about customization and control, being able to express yourself in anyway possible. So, here's to some of my Avatars. My little pack of Megans. They're ready to take you down:
posted by Megan Anhalt at 3:48 PM 0 comments

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Why Obama?

It's no secret that I have been and will continue to be a huge BARACK OBAMA supporter. I have donated to his campaign (which is entirely grassroots as he will accept no money from lobbyist with a personal agenda) and have recommended him as a candidate to practically everyone that I know (and some that I don't). But why? People always ask me WHY OBAMA? Why not Hilary or Edwards? Well, I would like to break down my reasons for you simply, but for a more in depth (and much more eloquent) argument, please take the time to read this lengthy and informative article from The Atlantic's December issue entitled "Goodbye to All That" but noted author Andrew Sullivan. I assure you, it won't disappoint. Now, on to my Cliff's Notes version...

REASONS WHY BARACK OBAMA MAKES THE BEST POSSIBLE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE:

#1)His image is iconic. Imagine yourself as a 15-year-old Iraqi boy. All you've known your whole life is your hate and contempt for a nation bred of ignorant old white men. But in 2008, you turn on your tv to see Barack Hussein Obama, a light-skinned black man elected President of the US. Everything you thought you knew about America changes in that very instant.

#2)He is real. When Obama takes a stance on something, you can tell he truly believes it. He isn't afraid to say the opposite of what others are expecting to hear. He doesn't do things simply because he knows he should to be liked or get elected, he does things because he believes in those things. He didn't not wear his American flag lapel pin because he wasn't patriotic...instead he chose to exhibit the qualities and actions of a true patriot and not simply rely on patriotic symbols to make him look good. He remains to be the only candidate who openly opposed the War in Iraq from its very beginning, but as Obama himself argued "I don't oppose all wars...what I'm opposed to is a dumb war."

#3) He is smart. There is no good way to illustrate the intelligence and wit of this man in a brief paragraph. The best advice I can give you is to listen and to read. He's taken the time to carefully lay out his plans for attacking America's biggest issues, and anyone can observe those to find a thoughtfulness and understanding that is unmatched by the other candidates in my opinion. He doesn't just say what needs to be done, but how to get it done, and why his way will work.

#4) He is humble. It's difficult to be in a position of running for public office, where everyday you are selling yourself, and still come off with a strong sense of self-effacement. While he does hold himself in high regard, he still is able to openly admit his flaws, but he doesn't bow down from them. Rather he uses them to humanize himself and overall strenthen his own character. He does not think himself better than any other, and he presents himself as a representative of the masses rather than someone born special to lead them. He is truly a man of the people, for the people. He is one of the few people to acknowledge that nothing is free from adaptation and susceptibility to change, not even one's faith.

#5) He is hopeful. He has not been jaded by the cruel realities of politics that come from years of failures in the Senate and elsewhere, and he is not afraid of the staunch Right-wing conservatives who stand in his way. While he has been living a political life for many years now, he has managed to stay predominantly out of the harsh crossfire and has delivered tangible results. His successful work in Illinois can be clearly noted. Sure, he is young and idealistic, but we must truly ask ourselves if this is such a bad thing. Believing is seeing results, afterall. I'd rather have someone that tried and failed than to hardly try at all.

#6) He is young. I myself am young, and I can appreciate someone that comes from a similar perspective. As much respect as I have for Hilary, she is simply an old woman. The key here really comes from the polarizing characteristics of the baby boom generation. Are you a hippie, or are you a conservative? It is from these beginnings that our nation has become so polarized by Red state and Blue state divisions. Obama, as he has said many times, represents the UNITED STATES, and he is the first candidate to refuse to cater to any inherent polarization of this nation. Moreover, he is the favored Democrat among Republicans and Independants alike, mostly because our younger generation is not so quick to apply one label to ourselves. We all wear many hats.

#7) He knows and believes in himself. A man of such humble and astonishing characteristics that truly believes in what he is doing and what he is capable of is simply a strong leader. We saw it in the Kennedys and Martin Luther King Jr., among countless others. Beyond his own charisma and eloquent speech, it is his way of getting others to believe in what he believes in that is so important. He acknowledges that in general, people "were satisfied as long as you were courteous and smiled and made no sudden moves. They were more than satisfied; they were relieved—such a pleasant surprise to find a well-mannered young black man who didn’t seem angry all the time." He uses that to his advantage, foregoing impulse and instead relying on rational thought and in-depth knowledge to aid him in decision-making.

It is for these reasons that I strongly contend that Illinois Jr. Senator BARACK OBAMA would make the best president in 2008.
posted by Megan Anhalt at 10:40 AM 0 comments

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

ALL HOLLYWOOD ACTRESSES LOOK THE SAME

Perfectly styled wavy hair. Straight shiny white smiles. Perfect lips. Sparkling deeply shadowed eyes. Chiselled features. Thin frame.

Am I crazy, or are all hollywood actresses starting to look the same these days?? They each come in with their own variation of the hollywood look, then within the year they're morphed into the hollywood barbie doll, with interchangable hair color and designer clothes. There's simply no diversity. I'm not talking about race diversity, as Halle Berry, Salma Hayek, Lucy Liu, and most other "racially diverse" actors all easily fit into this same mold. Rather, I'm talking about size, shape, age, and just feature diversity in GENERAL. I mean, how many actresses can you think of that don't photograph in this same way? Sure, there's the occassional Jennifer Hudson or Nikki Blonsky thrown into the mix, but they're famous for being different and were made famous in the first place because the role they played called for a specific type of woman that just wouldn't work otherwise.

We look to hollywood to represent our world. We flock to the "based on a true story" films and relate to the romantic comedies and horror films because we believe that they COULD maybe be real. The movie world is supposed to represent a little slice of our real world, developed on screen. When you break it down, its ridiculous. How many 5'2 size 00 girls with the perfect bust, waist, nose, bone structure, and hair do you know? Not many I would guess, and if you do, I would be willing to bet, they're working actresses of the industry. Real women just don't look like that! Not to say that these woman aren't real themselves, but most have so much makeup and plastic surgery (not to mention how many must starve themselves to be that thin) that they hardly even resemble the girl that broke onto the screen in the first place. Now, I expect the argument that the public goes to movies to be entertained and they only want to look at something appealing to the eye, blah blah blah. I'm not saying go out of the way to put ugly women on the screen (although, would that kill us really?), I'm just saying allow those average looking, average sized women, to be represented. Its ludicrous to think talented, attractive, size 8, 5'6 women don't exist in the industry. They're being kept out on purpose because of the way they look!

We put so much pressure on young girls to live up to this unattainable standard of beauty if all they ever see growing up are these gorgeous and thin women on the screen. We need to prove to them that there is more out there, and that, regardless of their shape, size, or features, they can do and be anything they desire. Its great that we have role models like Jennifer Hudson and Rosie O'Donnell, but we need more. Its not just about the fat girls, or the gay girls, or the outcast girls. It needs to be about ALL girls. We owe that to them. Why can't we have more women that look like Bridget Jones in romantic comedies? Is it so ludicrous that these women could find love? Why not have Jennifer Hudson starring in a movie like "The Devil Wears Prada." Is it so ridiculous to think that she could be a struggling professional?
This topic wouldn't be so infuriating to me if it wasn't a wholistically one-sided issue. You have men of ALL different shapes and sizes with varying degrees of fame. Ugly, fat, short, bald, just plain odd-looking, they're all there. Sometimes they even have ALL these characteristics in one (Danny De'Vito anyone?). But it doesn't MATTER for men. For women, we're allowed ONE negative characteristic, assuming all other degrees of aesthetic perfection are in place. Sure, Helena Bonham Carter is one odd-looking cookie, but she's thin with perfect teeth and bone structure like all the others. Sure, Sarah Jessica Parker isn't the most gorgeous woman on the planet, but she's thin and tiny and has great style and takes care of herself well. Sure Mandy Moore is super tall and a size 8 or 10, but she's gorgeous, with perfect hair, smile, and facial structure like all the rest. We're allowed one variation, one deviant while the men in this industry are granted full on amnesty. If a man is a good performer, a good entertainer, a good comedian, a good actor, well, you're in, regardless of your appearance or age. But not women. Why not women? I'm not hating on these female actresses above. On the contrary, I commend them for making it through the red tape set up before them. I just wish we could allow just a little more diversity through, you know? It just makes me sad.

Take a look at some of Hollywood's most popular leading men and tell me that most of these guys aren't at least a little bit odd-looking. But we love them anyway. I wish we could say the same for our women.
posted by Megan Anhalt at 2:55 PM 5 comments

OBAMA IN LA

Top (for me at least) US Presidential candidate, Senator Barack Obama spoke Monday evening before a cheering crowd in Los Angeles at the Gibson Ampitheatre. In true LA fashion, his appearance was heralded first with performances by Hollywood entertainers like Nick Cannon, James Whitmore, Ne-Yo, Kal Penn, and the Goo Goo Dolls.

To be honest, the whole experience was a bit surreal. I have been a huge Obama supporter since reading his book "The Audacity of Hope" earlier this year (a book that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND to anyone concerned with the future of American political policy). There is something about the young Harvard educated Senator and noted community activist from Illinois that is simply unlike any other political leader of our generation. He has the charisma and youthful idealism of a KENNEDY, a political saavy and intelligence of say a ROOSEVELT, and an eloquence and sense of social equality of DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. himself. Most importantly, I believe him. I believe HE BELIEVES in what he's saying. It's not just about his politics, about what he will and won't do for this country as president, but more so about who he is and what he represents for all Americans in this country.

Sitting in my bleacher chair, watching him speak close enough to hit him with a bottle cap (my dad's favorite measure of distance), I was forced into a state of stunned reverence for the man before me. Someone I truly believe to be acting not just in the interest of his own professional mobility, but for the betterment of a country he believes in and its citizens he has sworn to help. No political leader is perfect, everyone is human after all. Sure, anyone could find criticisms of this man like any other man or woman (he's too young, he's too inexperienced, he's too idealistic, he's black, his middle name is "hussein"), but one simply cannot argue with his eloquence. He has a way of saying what we all feel and proposing logical and presumably feasible solutions for change, and again, I believe him. I believe in him. Probably in a way women felt hearing Susan B. Anthony speak in the late 1890's or the way segregated African Americans felt in the 1960's listening to Dr. King. Is America ready for him? I cannot be sure, but I do know that regardless of the outcome of this election, Sen. Barack Obama will continue to make waves in this country for many many years to come.

Check out one of my favorite excerpts of Obama's motivational speech below:
posted by Megan Anhalt at 10:44 AM 0 comments

Monday, November 19, 2007

80'S TOON-TASTIC!!

What is it about 80's and early 90's cartoons that gets people of my generation all worked up about?

Any mention of Fraggle Rock, Duck Tales, Chip&Dale Rescue Rangers, etc. will send nearly any millennial (myself included) into a "Talespin" (pun intended) of a full chorus theme song rendition.
(GUMMI BEARS...BOUNCING HERE AND THERE AND EVERYWHERE...)

Aside from those mentioned above, I was an avid watcher of such classic 80's toons as My Little Ponies, Muppet Babies, Animaniacs, and all of those classic "Nick Toons" (Doug, Rugrats, Ren & Stimpy, Rocco's Mondern Life, AAAH! Real Monsters...you get the drift). It wasn't all half hour cartoons that caught our attention either. I was a big fan of the movie versions of toons as well, Rainbow Brite being a classic fave. He-Man Master of the Universe and She-Ra Princess of Power were pretty high on my list as well. Perhaps one of my most beloved tv toon movies was "The Chipmunk Adventure", where Alvin and the gang challenge the Chipettes to a hot air balloon race around the world (Who could ever forget the Wooly-Bully scene???).
It seems that many studios and production companies have gotten wise to the cash-cow potential of these nostalgia-producing toons (as we simply cannot help but be drawn to the toons of our past). The recent box office successes of 80's toon remakes TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) and megahit TRANSFORMERS seem be just the tip of the iceberg of many toon-inspired movies to come. Later this year we will see the release of a NEW chipmunk movie (making use of new technologies through a combination of live-action and computer generated graphics) ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS(with the original voices!). Most recently, MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE (2009) has popped up on IMDB, clearly illustrating that a serious HE-MAN movie is in the works. Even FRAGGLE ROCK: THE MOVIE has been announced by the Jim Henson company, also for 2009.

Oh man, I don't know about this...but I'll definitely pay to see it in the theatre b/c I loved them so. Damn you nostalgia. How cute is Theodore btw?
posted by Megan Anhalt at 5:01 PM 0 comments