Heavy Meta

Tarra's nom de plume. In a room of one's own.


    This is what happens at the ARC, the Archaeological Research Center at CSU Sacramento. The power of Parkour for Lazies. What do you think they are Parkour-ing for? Anthropology? Education? Working conditions? Feel free to send your suggestions. 

    — 3 years ago with 3 notes

    #ARC  #archaeological research center  #CSUS  #CSU Sacramento  #parkour for Lazies 
    Culture Jamming: The Parkour Meme (or) Parkour for Lazies: and for everyone else, too

    Arresting in its silent critique of standing, Parkour for Lazies is really all the rage. Like many people, I was only recently introduced to the original idea of Parkour, which came in the same package as most of my social knowledge, The Office. Since then, it has not been inconceivable to see my friends or my brother jump up on the couch, jump off, land on only one foot(!), and yell “Parkour!” It’s all just a bit too athletic for me, which is why I jumped (well, not really; see above – I don’t jump) on the Parkour for Lazies craze.




    (Scotty B)

    “Seen separately, these photos suggest thousands of weird people all willing to do something a little crazy. But taken together, the photos of people all around the world lying face down in odd locations looks a lot like collective performance art.”    Delana, weburbanist.com  

    I’d like to amend the former to include postmodern performance art. All the pictures really do look like stills from a flash mob. Only…deconstructed. I decided to get my friends and family in on the piece. They complied only too willingly, and I have not been able to think about much since, much to the chagrin of my students. What about this is so riveting?



    My grandfather used to say that dancing was a vertical expression of a horizontal desire. For what vertical desire is Parkour for lazies?

    Modernist moment. Here’s my stream of consciousness concerning Parkour for lazies: Social revolution - how can this bring about change? Can we harness the power of Parkour for lazies? Or is that a contradiction in terms? Demonstration. Anyone can do it (can anyone do it?). Postmodernism. Happenings. Signifier/signified (free play of signifiers). Mass production (Mona Lisa – opposite effect?). Commercialization of culture. Space/community/visual text. The Gaze. Fragmented. Who is the “author?” Auteur? Does it subvert mainstream cultural institutions/practices – culture jamming? If there is Parkour for lazies, can there be Parkour for feminists? And what would it look like? 

    By not doing something, something is being done.


    — 3 years ago with 5 notes

    Barbie vs Jem: Plastic Baggage is Still Baggage

    Can’t a doll just be a doll? Sigh.


    barbie rockers

    Barbie has monstered the female body. Though her exact measurements differ from study to study, her average dimensions seem to be about 36-18-38, dimensions that would be pretty terrifying on a real woman. And dangerous. But young girls around the world are introduced to the female body through her body, from her plastic nipple-less breasts to the smoothness between her legs. Also, her toes are perpetually pointed, high-heel ready at any moment. Children who are introduced to the female body in this way can develop a skewed perception on what women are capable of, physically. I love wearing high heels. But I love having the choice.

    Of course, I realize she’s just a doll, a toy representation of a woman. But this plastic woman has consumer power, probably far beyond what her painted on eyes could have foreseen, which means that this is an issue. This little lady is in our homes, in children’s hands, and in their minds.   

    Why do young girls relate to her? She was a solitary woman for awhile, making her way in the world, but as a truly successful woman she had to have a man. Enter Ken. Then, as a woman who is able to have it all, sister Skipper was introduced in 1964, and finally Barbie had a family. This is the message? 

    Moving on. More on Barbie another day.

    Barbie and the Rockers was Barbie’s response to Jem and the Holograms.


    Jem and the Holograms (Misfits too!) provide a much more realistic, “bigger boned” plastic mold of a woman. Jem is dedicated to a specific occupation — rock. She did have arched feet, but at a much more realistic incline. Her body, compared to Barbie’s, maybe reflected how young girls were feeling at the time. Who didn’t feel awkward and “different” as children and young women? For those of us who played with the Jem dolls, one of the first things we noticed, and still discuss, is the larger than life plastic bodies they had. By placing Jem’s body on the market after 30+ years of the Barbie, perhaps the underlying message, something we can take away from the body issue, is that not all dolls had to be the same size? Or maybe they were just supposed to be larger than life? 

    Which is not to say that Jem was perfect. The show itself was incredibly flawed. The amount of violence directed toward women is staggering, and Rio’s obvious infidelity is unforgivable.

    What’s great about it though is that it portrays a group of  women who are dedicated to each other and to a musical experience. They also raise young girls in an orphanage, quite the feat! By perpetuating their experience to this group of young girls — talk about heavy meta! As an audience member in the mid-80s, I was one of those metaphorical orphans, looking for that female rock n’ roll role model in the midst of the Guns N’ Roses and Motley Crue’s. Those bands were awesome, but they didn’t necessarily provide the reflection I was subconsciously seeking.  Jem was an animated mirror of what was going on in the real world. Jem’s style became the style of the Starlight mansion girls, just as Madonna’s lace draped every young girl from ages 7-16. They were literally role models for those young girls, and they embraced that role. It was a voluntary consequence of their rock star position, and they took it seriously. 

    While rock was just one stop on Barbie’s journey through occupational schizophrenia, Jem and the Holograms lived it. However, both provided cassette tapes. So…that’s pretty awesome.

    The battle continues: http://www.facebook.com/topic.php?uid=57884444465&topic=9666

    — 4 years ago

    Words With Friends Chat: chatting with friends with words


    Janiceanddragons: Ps nice move

    Janiceanddragons: Pps I like post scripts

    Tarrafallsup: The post script sometimes has better info than the script itself.

    Tarrafallsup: ps but not always.

    Janiceanddragons: Hahaha!

    Janiceanddragons: Ps You’re so brilliant!

    Janiceanddragons: Pps I love you so much!

    Janiceanddragons: Ppps what about post post post scripts?

    Janiceanddragons: Pppps meta

    — 4 years ago

    Air Guitar: The Heaviest of Meta

    Saturday night. The Troubadour. A place that has for years been synonymous with rock and roll. This night was no exception. This was a night for some heavy meta.

    After three brutal rounds, The Bride of Rock, Janice Gomez, was crowned the winner of the LA Regionals Air Guitar Championships. Here comes the bride, indeed.

    Her first round was elaborate, clever, and perfectly executed. As was her hair. Her groom, Therocknessmonster, transferred his air guitar (and thus his legacy — 2005 US Air Guitar Champ) to the Bride. Her bridesmaids (The Bull-ettes) tossed buttons instead of rice, and taunted her with their transformed bouquets on their way out. Her response? A “Bulls on Parade” massacre that left the crowd screaming and breathless. The judges liked her too: the first 6.0 of the evening, and she flew to the next level. 

    The Bride’s Round Two “Heartbreaker” did just that — her fall from the second story railing terrified and thrilled the crowd. And the judges: her second 6.0! Her response? ”I didn’t understand the gravity of it” (she’s punny too)! She entered into an unprecedented 3 way tie for first place, including the only two female contestants in the competition, The Bride and Zero Prospects

    "I just thought the women were a breath of fresh air!" The Bride, with her airy quips, never stops! I definitely agree with her. In such a male-dominated arena, with antics like this,

    it was incredibly refreshing to see the women dominate. Unfortunately Zero Prospects scratched the competition during the Air Off, leaving The Bride to battle Hardcore Henry. Of course, she preveiled!

    Enough recap. Let’s talk about what’s really going on here. Air Guitar. Semiotics. Metaphor. Meta. There’s something there, something in the air, even though there’s nothing tangible to see. Crowds watch, slack-jawed and gaping, this visible, invisible, presence. Air Guitar has made it to ESPN. Whatever it is, whether it be entertainment, sport, or performance art, it has left the bedroom, the living room couch, and the car, and it has entered into our collective conscious. What is left for us to not see? 

    I have a feeling that at the National Championships on July 22 at Irving Plaza, The Bride of Rock will show us.

    (all images via laweekly.com)

    — 4 years ago

    The Bride of Rock: Round 1. No Air-ers here!

    — 4 years ago

    While We’re on the Subject of Monsters…


    While we’re on the subject of monsters, and while I hate to perpetuate it by even discussing it, RapeLay is one of the grossest examples of monstering I have seen in a long time. 

    It’s a video game. About rape. As revenge.

    It’s one of many Hentai (sexually explicit animation) games, and apparently this game has been in the news for awhile now.  It’s actually been out there, being played, for several years, but somehow I missed it. Not that I am a gamer and keep up with video games, but because I am a woman, a human, and this is…the stuff of nightmares.

    I haven’t played it. I won’t, ever. But some of the details I have read about this game…haunt me. 

    The player rapes a young schoolgirl. He also rapes her sister and mother. Once raped, the women are capable of getting pregnant, and the player can force her to get an abortion, in order for the player to stay alive. Oh, and there are visible tears in the women’s eyes as they are being raped.

    Doesn’t get much darker than that.

    With all the monsters under our collective beds, in our closets, and in the shadows, isn’t it time that women, at least in video games, were given the chance to run? 

    — 4 years ago

    Text Response to "Monster-ing Romance"

    Jenn:How'd you know it was me?
    Me:No one else is that smart.
    Jenn:Awww shucks. I really like your blogs.
    Me:I tried to link to your facebook when I referenced you but your page is private so no one would get to really experience you. Now you need one. That text you sent me last night is a perfect first post.
    April 14, 2010
    Jenn:Top news stories on channel 5: tiger woods' mistress in jail, girl's bikinis with padded tops, alleged woman couple were fighting about before wife murdered, naked pics of teen girls sexting. I have no hope or comment.
    Jenn:I'd rather just bitch about it to you. And James.
    Me:I'm fine with that. But I will be referencing more of your bitching in future blog posts.
    Jenn:Ok. I'm watching oprah about a nearly-murdered woman. Watch out for your ex-husbands.
    Me:They'd better watch out. I have appliances and mops to get my back.
    Jenn:You go. Why suffer when you can swiffer?
    Me:See? This is why I love you. Brilliant.
    Jenn:Really, how are women even functioning with all of these dangers? Geez. If ur not being murdered or followed now, you will be.
    Me:If you're lucky. If all the terrors of h1n1 and various other plagues don't get you first.
    Jenn:My vagina scares me.
    — 4 years ago with 1 note

    #Swiffer  #Tiger Woods  #Oprah  #vagina 

    For the Love of Products: monster-ing romance

    "The first time I used Preference, I fell in love!" —Preference by L’oreal commercial

    I think of many things when I think of love, but (hair) products aren’t among the first on my list. Why this diction of loving products?

    I mean, I get it. You’re going to be loyal to a product that you “love,” you’re going to be a repeat purchaser. But the way advertising is going about it — it’s kind of creepy. Jean Kilbourne’s Can’t Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel (loaned to me by Jenn, a fellow comrade in the fight for humanity) delves deeply into the myriad of issues resulting from the psychological manipulation of advertising. It’s a great and terrifying read, and it explains so much about how we manage to “monster” or warp products into something other than what they are.

    I’d like to focus primarily on the Swiffer commericals. These commercials are mini-love stories, mini-telenovelas, mini-mini-series’ showcasing the romance between a woman and her Swiffer, while her distraught, cast-aside outdated broom and mop mope at the door and try to win her back though various amusing antics. All to the beat of delightful break-up songs. Hmmm. What is this saying about modern women’s relationships? That the best we can hope for, or maybe what we deserve, is to create romantic relationships with our cleaning products?!  

    And in what light does it cast the misappropriated significant other?  

    These commercials are amusing, they’re catchy with their super-fun songs, but what is the commentary? Maybe facebook knows. There’s a whole page dedicated to the commercials. 

    This is not to say I am innocent of this crime. As a dedicated shopper, I have many times fallen prey to my own insistence of love: I am So in LOVE with those shoes. I MUST have them. I LOVE them.  And I’m sure somehow my response to those black stilettos is a consequence of  the White Noise I’m bombarded with day after day. Or maybe I just appreciate the perfect shoe?

    Still. When it comes to romance, I don’t want chemicals. I want chemistry.

    — 4 years ago

    The Post-Modern Prometheus

    frankenstein franky

    "Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay

    To mould me Man, did I solicit thee

    From darkness to promote me?” 

    – John Milton, Paradise Lost, X, 743-45

    I’ve been trying to write this piece on Frankenstein, because for whatever reason he’s the first monster I think of when I think of the traditional monster. However, I’ve been having a difficult time, because I can’t decide who the actual monster is. In popular culture, Frankenstein is the monster, but in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Frankenstein is the name of the creator of the Monster, or the creature, or the devil, or whatever the nameless can be called. The monster in Frankenstein is never named, so why has the monster assumed his creator’s name? Is the monster the real monster, or is his creator? The monster, though nameless in the book, could have easily been called Prometheus, or Modern Prometheus, but for some reason the readers and the general public started calling the monster Frankenstein. Is the relationship between creator and creature that close?

    Dr. Frankenstein creates man. He raises the dead. He uses electricity (fire, Prometheus) to commit hubris. He is (a) God. Except then he dies. Most ungod-like.

    And the monster’s only real sin is a reaction to the violence committed against him, as well as to the loneliness and isolation that he experiences, which is so bad and the guilt he feels is so strong that he leaves to commit suicide.  His experience is the same as any awkward 14 year old girl’s. So why have we cast him as the monster?  

    Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, or The Modern Prometheus has been associated with a number of ideas, and my favorite theory is that the novel is a metaphor for the dangerous consequences of the Industrial Revolution. Were we, as a society, prepared to deal with the consequences of whatever it was that we would create? Was science the answer, or was it going to cause more harm than good? These questions are the same we continue to ask of science today. 

    So the question remains: are scientists monsters, or are their creations?


    — 4 years ago

    #frankenstein  #monster  #mary shelley  #science