January 31, 2007


Start watching American Idol. You know who to vote for. (Or, to be grammatically correct, you know for whom to vote.) Check out Fox, The Houston Chronicle, MSNBC, and the Chris Sligh Fan Club. And buy a T-shirt.

Posted by jonsligh at 09:47 AM | Comments (37)

January 18, 2007

good reads

A couple good articles. Neither of these are new, but I re-discovered them recently and found them both very good.

Upon This Rock. (musings on a Christian music festival and upon faith in general)

2,305 Words on "Sweet Child O' Mine". (2,305 words on "Sweet Child O' Mine")

I like the second one a good deal more, but the first is well-written and thought-provoking.

Posted by jonsligh at 09:42 AM | Comments (9)

Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (besides record labels)

A recent skimming of Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own got me thinking about her impact (or lack thereof) on certain parts of the culture. Woolf complains that fictional women in literature usually maintain simplified, conventionalized, and downright absurd relationships with each other. The reason for this simplistic treatment of women in literature is understandable--all of these fictional women are created by men, and seen only in relation to men. She notes, "It was strange to think that all the great women of fiction were, until Jane Austen's day . . . seen only in relation to the other sex." The women in literature were not so much an accurate representation of women as a projection of the male perception of women or a male stereotype of women.

It is interesting to note that while women in various aspects have now overcome sexist barriers (i.e., their job opportunities are not limited to school-teacher and secretary, and they no longer have to put up with would-be Cassanovas in the workplace), women in the performing arts have been slow in escaping sexism. I think it's safe to say that women in the performing arts have almost a zero chance of success if they don't conform to sexist stereotypes--regardless of what talent they may possess.

A cursory glance at the radio top 40 reveals that women have a statistically smaller chance of success, and those who do succeed are nearly always scantily clad sex symbols whose sales increases are inversely related to the amount of clothing they wear. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm guessing it's not talent alone that sells their work. Female pop stars usually fall into one of two categories (neither of which stereotype, one would suspect, were created by women): kittenish sex symbols or tough (and attractive) bad girls. Most fit into the former category. A smaller percentage fit into the latter category. The success of most of these performers can be attributed to their conformity to male expectations.

There are certain genres in which practically no women seem to be able to use their talents, even those who mold themselves to fit male-defined categories. A disproportionately small percentage of women have succeeded in metal or hard rock. Punk has a few more female stars punk. One of punks best known female stars, platinum-selling Avril Lavigne, only proves my point, though, and is certainly no posterchild for feminists; one of her best known songs portrays a girl who squanders her chance for success when she--you guessed it--breaks off a relationship with a young man (who then goes on to become a skater star).

The singer-songwriter genre, one which purports to be deliberately anti-glam, does allow the occasional girl whose success can be attributed to the sound of her voice rather than the shape of her torso. Joan Baez comes immediately to mind (though one might argue that her success could have been linked to her past marriage to a male who was a tad more famous than herself).

Women have come a long way from the suppression of Woolf's time, but they still encounter difficulty in the popular music world, quite possibly because they are female. Record labels know what sells. They avoid artists who break from male-defined categories because those artists do not sell. Until thoughtful women who live independently of male stereotypes can outsell Christina Aguilera, advocates for the rights of women will have to find their heroes somewhere outside the record industry.

Posted by jonsligh at 09:29 AM | Comments (10)

January 03, 2007


Will hath taggéd me.

My Childhood Ambition: Be a rock star.

My Fondest Memory: hmm . . . tough one. I once had a moment when driving through the Alps, as the dreamy ambient guitars of Sigur Ros floated through my headphones and around my brain, and a downpour of midday sunrays splashed across the snow-covered mountains, and I thought for a few seconds I was actually getting a buzz. Ok, so maybe you had to be there.

My Favourite Retreat: empty room, early a.m., coffee, book

My Wildest Dream: Publish a book or three

My Proudest Moment: Graduating from Cubbies to Sparkies

My Biggest Challenge: Acting on principle

My Alarm Clock is: A devilish contraption forged in the fires of Hades

My Perfect Day: Spending a day in coffee shops talking with friends.

My First Job was: Paper deliverer at 14

My Most Decadent Indulgence: My iPod and the many hours spent with it.

My Inspiration: Chris, my dad, Andrew Peterson, Paul Simon, Jonathan Safran Foer, W.B. Yeats

My New Years Resolution: Learn German

My Ideal Companion: is probably, like all of us, a mixture of the good and the bad, the beautiful and the banal.

My Favourite Colour: My favorite crayon flavor in pre-school was tied between Burnt Sienna and Yellow-Green. Both very tasty.

The Last Book I Read: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.

How many Books did I read in 2006: 18

My Ideal Home Would be: NYC penthouse with expansive balcony and soundproof walls

I am Expert at: Procrastination

My Funniest Joke: I never memorize jokes. Most things about Mr. T automatically make me laugh, even if they're supposed to be serious.

My Favourite Animal: Do protozoa count? If not, then I think cats are pretty cool the way they can pounce on stuff.

My Favourite Breakfast: Starbucks™coffee (I know, I shouldn't be the slave of corporate America) and a good pastry

My Favourite Snack: Cheddar

My Favourite NEW TV Show: Nope.

My Couch: Vintage 70s white plastic shell with black leather cushions

Your Greatest Fear: Richard Simmons. Failure is a close second.

Your Favourite Entertainer: Mr. T. Doesn't need to be parodied.

Your Favourite Meat & Veggie: Fried chicken and mashed potatoes.

Worst Person in the World: Yours truly

Gotta learn how to tag other people.

Posted by jonsligh at 04:03 PM | Comments (9)