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Preacher's Daughter: Are There Progressive and Feminist Voices in Country?

A couple of commenters have raised questions about progressiveness in country music. Today, I want to suggest that there are progressive voices, at least in Americana, roots, and alt country music, but those voices are limited. They are almost always white, and usually populist and male. There are a few women in country who arguably identify as feminists. None of these...

Thursday Night 'Lights: Since We're Stuck With Whitney, Let's Improve the Show

For this installment of TNL, I've decided to focus on the most beloved new show of the fall season. That's right, Whitney. Since NBC has chosen to give it a full season pickup, I think its time to accept the show is here to stay until May. So before I get to the other recaps from last night, allow me to offer a few suggestions for how to make Whitney worthy of the laughter...

The H-Word: "Dancing Saved my Life"

"When I was a teenager, like 14, I took off from an abusive foster care situation (one of many) and I had to 'make it' on my own. I had no ID, and no money. I danced at Billy's Topless and a place called The Baby Doll Lounge, until I was legal age to be on my own and to get a proper job. I never got drunk at work, I never did drugs, or slept with or dated clients. The older women looked out...

Isn't He Lovely: Hollywood Adores a Handsome Blind Man

If Hollywood gravitates toward a "sexy" disability for male characters, it would have to be blindness. I was recently mulling over how the big screen portrays men of color and with disabilities and realized that blind male characters in movies often aren't dehumanized or marginalized. They're downright hot.

<em>Young Adult</em> Trailer Released, Features "The Girl You Hated in High School"

You know how the past decade or so has brought us countless films with a male protagonist who is juvenile and irredeemable, and it's kind of a problem? Wouldn't it be so equally problematic edgy and trendy and subversive if filmmakers started casting WOMEN in those roles instead of men?! Well, it didn't work in Bad Teacher, so Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody are giving it a try with...

Sm{art}: The Intricate Horror of Parastou Forouhar

Office chairs upholstered in mourning fabric, Arabic calligraphy covering white walls like black foliage, and graphic patterns with horrific details—these are just a sampling of Parastou Forouhar's multimedia artwork.

Preacher's Daughter: Alt Country: Murder, Addiction, and the Southern Gothic Soul

I am not sure what this says about me, but I love the dark themes that infuse Southern Gothic narratives. Alt country is one of my favorite genres, at least in part because it explores the most frightening vestiges of the human soul (I also like the pedal steel). In my defense, "Deep Red Bells" was my favorite Neko Case song before I learned that it was about the Green River murders...

Bringing Up Baby: True Grit and the Unfortunate Spinsterhood Finale

Films with female leads sometimes end this way. Did she get married or not? Did she have babies or not? The framing makes it clear that the real question is: Does she have a happy ending or no?

The H-Word: Rachel Lloyd vs. The Fashion Police

Many people find it challenging to see sex workers as subjects, rather than as objects—as individuals capable of making choices and as actors in their own lives. Tragically, many of these same people purport to be our advocates.

B-Sides: Extra Classic and the Vampire Weekend Theory of Appropriation

So it goes like this: "[your favorite music blogger]: Readers, please check out Band A. Band A hails from Culture A (represent!) but sounds exactly like underrepresented Culture B. Like, can you believe your ears, doesn't it sound like Band A just sounds like all of these bands from Culture B that work hard and get little recognition in our giant Culture A?" This week it's time...