Quite right. Manitoba goth, Creepie Kitty adds "... music or fashion doesn't tell you to kill someone. You make the choice yourself." Spot on. It should also be pointed out that aside from dating a fifteen-year old who subsequently turned out to be twelve and then presumably murdering her family, Jeremy Allan Steinke has reportedly claimed to be a lycan, i.e. werewolf. So, not a vampire as it turns out and rather more metal-sounding than goth.
I can see why many people would find "goth culture" irritating. The same might be said for country/western or hip hop and yet these subcultures manage to attract media coverage independent of school shootings and other mayhem. It is no surprise the press is drawn to a story involving not only a murdered family and a radically inappropriate relationship but black clothes and the usual moral panic around internet social networks. But all of this attention might be better directed toward asking what on earth a twelve-year old was doing with unsupervised internet access in the first place. This is not to blame the parents for their own deaths. That responsibility lies squarely with Steinke should he be convicted. But a media-created contrast between an idyllic family life and threatening vampire wannabes is nevertheless an incomplete and inadequate picture of events.
Any questions that are eventually asked about privacy, supervision and internet access should not overlook an issue that has gone unremarked in the traditional media. The information gatekeepers now painting a lurid picture of VampireFreaks.com and all the rest are the same folks providing enough details to ensure the twelve-year old at the heart of the case has no hope of maintaining the privacy she is entitled to under the law. Her name, photos and other personal details are only two or three clicks away for anyone who is curious and remotely familiar with internet search engines. In this light, a little more sympathy is due not only the murdered parents and a girl who was clearly out of her depth. Some might be spared for all those goths of Alberta for whom internet message boards are a life-line. With these murders and their attendant media coverage I imagine their lives have just got more difficult.
My favourite film of all time happens to include my favourite single of all time. Most inconvenient that no Irma Vep soundtrack was ever released. I can link the song anyway thanks to the miracle of the internets. Now is the time the Flea when we dance.
Jeff finds the best tagline for a musical review ever.
On the left is Dr Angry while on the right is Mr Calm. Until, that is, you back away from your computer and an optical illusion switches their places. Creepy.
Pop culture fashion addicts desperate for a fix of Project Runway have been able to get by with a methadone hit of Project Catwalk. Now Canadian viewers have had several weeks to settle into a new regimen, I think it is safe to pass some sort of judgment. Liz Hurley does an admirable job as UK place-holder for Heidi Klum. And considering the way Klum has treated Jay McCarroll, good riddance. Still, there is something missing from the show.
The long shadow of Central St. Martin's produces a very different idea of what should be coming down the runway. High street and haute couture British fashion is much more fanciful and architectural than its American sport and ready-to-wear counterparts. I am always happy to take in London glamour and the four-floor Georgian hosting contestants is my dream home. The Instituto Marangoni London campus facilities are more impressive than their equivalent at the Parsons School of Design. All of this should make the show at least as interesting to watch as the original.
But there is that missing "I do not know what". Americans on television have a presence the aspiring British designers lack. Weekly outings connected to their projects seem to have been forced on the Brits. Even social events with models or the press come across as stilted and the contestants embarrassed to be part of the spectacle. It is as if nobody has explained to these people that reality television is meant to be entertaining. Worse yet is the marked absence of Tim Gunn. Ben De Lisi looks like a deer in headlights. There is no excuse for it. The man is American, after all.
No mercy Update: It is frustrating to learn Elizabeth Hurley will not be hosting the show's second season. "Plummy", indeed.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Flea-readers of a certain age may have expected to live and die never knowing how Dragon's Lair turned out. Thanks, internets!
Mr Justice Peter Smith's "Smithy Code" has been cracked. Conspiracy theorists need not despair of something to do. Ben Hoyle at The Times and Dan Tench for The Guardian are both claiming to have solved the code first. Certainly a greater enigma than the code's uninspiring message: "Smithy Code Jackie Fisher Who Are You Dreadnought".
Writing for the BBC, Finlo Rohrer explains a link between Black Sabbath, Wagner's Gotterdammerung, West Side Story and the Simpsons' theme. Tritones - "a musical interval that spans three whole tones" - have long been described in metal lore as Diabolus in Musica or the Devil's Interval supposedly banned from medieval music. It turns out they were not wrong.
Tom Cruise, who must be straight because he is now the biological father of a child, explains why Katie Holmes has decided to change her name.
Beautiful Atrocities forwards news of Walkers' new crisps representative: Charlotte Church. While I rarely eat potato chips myself, I think Church is an excellent choice and a welcome relief in a world of celebrities who could use a pack of crisps. Keira Knightley is lovely but do FHM readers really think she is the sexiest woman in the world?*
Bless. Now everyone is happy with the exception of axed crisp factory workers. They think Church's £100,000 contract might have been better spent.
*They do, actually.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
The Da Vinci Code plagiarism case judge, Justice Peter Smith has reportedly published his 71-page judgment with "a seemingly random series of italicisations throughout." The first nine italic letters spell out the words "Smith Code". Cute.
For the first time in a century the Secret Intelligence Service, better known as MI6, is advertising for staff. This is a big step considering the British government only admitted the existence of Six in 1994. Would be administrators, officers, analysts, linguists, and information technology specialists can apply on-line.
A workplace smoking ban for England and a sensible exemption. I am now wondering if a Patsy or Winston could take the same liberty.
Reports suggest Flea-readers arriving via an Opera browser can do so without a cacaphony of MySpace videos all autostarting at once. Result! Unfortunately, I now have word the site is giving Safari browsers trouble. The internets are truly a work in progress for folks without Explorer or Firefox... In related hiccup news: I am sorry for the continued comments malfunction. I hope to return to normal service as soon as possible.
Attentive Flea-readers may have noticed yesterday's Jenny Shimizu media included ever so slightly more Shimizu than I had intended. In the interest of restoring the cosmic balance I now present Daniel Craig's amazing acting nipple. For the full effect say "nipple" in a Sean Connery accent: Yesh. Though I am left with a question: Why does Craig's face look older than his torso?
Not that I am one of those people who develop a facial tick whenever the new James Bond is mentioned. Daniel Craig remembers pretending to be 007 in the playground. He says he understands how important it is "to get it right" in Casino Royale's more human and fallible Bond reboot.
It turns out Roger Moore never liked guns. If only the Daniel Craig haters could take this on board and forgive the man for being an actor and not an imaginary secret agent. Unlike Craig, as a boy Pierce Brosnan never even wanted to be Bond. Though after ten years and four films I can see why he would become attached to the part.
People should not be afraid of cookie. Cookie should be afraid of people (brought to you by Porchboy and the Number Five).
A Chicago Sun-Times on-line photo gallery includes the best ever photo of Maria Callas. The collection has so many haunting images that I should add a time-bandit warning for cubicle-enhanced Flea-readers everywhere (via Tim Blair).
I enjoy product placement as much as anybody. But Hard Candy needs to work a bit harder at pretending to be a movie and not just a Mini Cooper ad.
William Gibson's Idoru is to be produced as an anime film (via Cult of Pop). Now if only we can get whoever is sitting on the rights to Neuromancer to do the right thing for humanity and give them up. To Alex Proyas, say. Or Luc Besson.*
*Yes, yes: Or Ridley Scott.
Would be Flea-commenters will have noticed the following error message: "The page you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable." I assumed the TypeKey server was on the blink but am now thinking something has gone awry in my last site rebuild. Does anyone have an idea what might be causing the problem? Thanks!
Jenny Shimizu recently came to public attentive through revelations of her affair with Angeline Jolie and consequent speculation about just what had been going on in Jonny Lee Miller's swimming pool. The Flea's newfound interest in Shimizu media means reports of yet another celebrity entanglement cannot go unremarked. But how to best bring you - the Flea-reader - news of her tryst with the Immaterial Girl?* Specifically, what image should I use to illustrate this post?
Which brings me to the problem. A quick Google search for Jenny Shimizu pictures suggest two "strange attractors," i.e. two phase states, of the Shimizu wardrobe. These being "butch" and "naked" respectively. While your search will vary depending on your SafeSearch preferences I am left with an editorial decision about what to run with. After all, one hesitates to reproduce stereotypes or material catering to prurient interests. All I can say is that for a professional model Shimizu has left a remarkably small footprint on Google's image index. Hopefully news of her fling with Madonna will bring much needed media attention her way.
*Please note: At the time of her affair with Shimuzu, Madonna still occupied her material form.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Kevin Federline responds to his critics. Warning: linked article features rap.
The National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. is hosting the largest Dada exhibition ever held in the United States. The show is open through to May 7.
The 20th-century leaves much to be desired in its fine arts. From the CIA funded abstract expressionist bubble market to Andy Warhol's closet curios, fine art has strayed ever further from the representational into the conceptual. This would be fine if, with a few notable exceptions, art had not become ever more boring. With the invention of photography the portrait and landscape painting markets evaporated. It was either concept art or unemployment for the paint and paintbrush set. Certainly Dada is to blame at least as much as Impressionism for this not terribly satisfying century-long answer to technological change. That said, it is profoundly satisfying to learn Marcel Duchamp's readymade urinal Fountain can still get a rise from a writer at the National Review.
O Moon of Alabama Update: Washington-based Flea-readers should beg, borrow or steal to hear Ute Lemper perform in a cabaret performance for Dada on April 29. I will be jealous.
It turns out that Panama hats are traditionally made in Ecuador. In slower moving days they were stored in Panama before before being shipped elsewhere. Hence the confusion. Now FemaleFirst reports Panama hats are making a comeback. It remains to be seen if the fad catches on outside Germany.
They lost me with the Michael Carroll reference. It turns out he is more of an object lesson than a man.
You spins the wheel, you takes your chances Update: Some practical advice for lottery winners.
Mad props to Dorkafork for the coding anomaly fix!
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
I have nothing against the War of 1812 re-enactments at Fort York or everything they get up to in period dress at Black Creek Pioneer Village. But I think Toronto also needs a Secret Wars Re-Enactment Society to give us the big historical picture. Those who forget the Secret Wars are condemned to repeat them.
Frank Miller's "Dark Knight" has long been credited for reinventing comics (and some are unhappy with the result). Miller's approach was to re-imagine Batman in gritty, noir-ish terms in stark contrast with the high-camp cartoon it had become (Kapow!). The Dark Knight concept reached beyond comics - or the more grown-up sounding "graphic novels" - and onto the silver screen with the film "Batman Returns." A darker sensibility was meant to offer greater realism, greater emotional and artistic impact and greater box-office returns for the flagging franchise. Forthcoming "Superman" and "James Bond" vehicles are heading down the same road; one also travelled by the "naturalistic science fiction" of Ron Moore's epic new Battlestar Galactica.
Next up for the Dark Knight treatment: Star Trek. Out with the Rick Berman and Brannon Braga series conventions and in with the J.J. Abrams off-kilter sensibility.
PooterGeek blames supergenius Russell T Davies - formerly of Queer As Folk fame - for David Tennant, "a Doctor who’s prettier than his assistant." Point taken. Though judging by Doctor Who Confidential for Season 2 Episode 1 ("New New Doctor") the entire production staff is made up of gay men (plus one Grace). I think we can safely assign the decision to a consensus process rather than a "great man" theory of casting.
Who fans worried at the departure of Christopher Eccleston should relax. David Tennant is a natural as the Doctor. And no need for separation anxiety in the short term: Tennant and Billie Piper have already signed on for Season 3.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
"Dandyism is the last vestige of a sartorial spirituality. It is a secular monastery, but with essential accessories."
- Robert Dutt
Alice Cicolini considers a well-groomed, Flea-ish masculinity in The New English Dandy. This is not entirely new ground for Cicolini. Her research on British underwear for the British Council revealed a country "paradoxically liberated by its boundaries." Cicolini claims England's uniforms and conformity are offset by "subtle subversion" as a hallmark of the nation's dress sense. Her work on English dandies takes the observation in a new direction. She argues the underlying motive for subversion is on the way out.
Cicolini's dandy classification owes a debt to her earlier work with the Victoria & Albert's Christopher Breward. 21st Century Dandy broke masculinity into six major categories: The Gentleman, Hoxton Dandy, Terrace Casual, Neo-Modernist, Celebrity Tailor and New British. The New English Dandy mixes and matches into six slightly new and improved categories.
In the absence of a celebrity tailor I am working on 'Annex Flaneur.' The Flea: So far from Bond Street. So close to Winners.
Imagine a romance starring... you! I am going to wait for the movie version.
The Sydney Morning Herald claims Kylie and Mr. Minogue could have earned well over £1 million for the snaps Olivier took. Quite right too. Thanks to everybody for forwarding this latest news of Kylie in recovery.
Dannii Minogue is releasing a single about the tough year she has had dealing with Kylie's cancer scare. The Daily Telegraph is calling it a case of "famous sibling syndrome" which seems a bit harsh. Though they are right to point out the lesbian lapdance also deserves to be immortalized in song.
An Australian dinner party guest once explained to me the problem with Canada: "You don't have any interesting wildlife." Moose!, someone suggested. Admittedly, not much to hold up against a kangaroo or a koala. Though I have come to the opinion the animals we take for granted are more peculiar than we give them credit.
For example, Canadians living overseas discover that any large organization will feature another Canadian and he or she will have a beaver-chewed tree-stump in their office. As the new Canadian on the payroll you will be called upon to verify the stories that go with it. My credibility in my former life as a research consultant in the UK suffered as I explained that yes, beavers do indeed cut down trees with their teeth and, no, the tree stump was not a wind up. They need the wood to build dams and lodges, I explained. "That can't possibly be true... all of Canada would be under water!" Funny you should mention that.
This is so exactly what I am going for with Hand of Vecna.
Flea-readers may wonder why I would link to this (nsfw) expose of Angelina Jolie's "first lesbian fling" with Jenny Shimizu. Remember: It is not about the art it is about the ad revenue. Trawling strip joints, naked moonlight swimming and Jonny Lee Miller also feature (via Miu).
And here I thought I was the only person in the world with a sugarcube sponge. Dita Von Teese proves me wrong with a demonstration of the merits of absinthe (so nsfw). While I am certain that is meant to be absinthe and not champagne La Petite Claudine is spot on about the unflattering effect of crossing one's legs in profile.
Michael Moorcock does a poor job of explaining why he is to become an American citizen. Something to do with his support of a traditional heredity House of Lords, apparently. He does a better job explaining why he is becoming a true Texan.
He wants to be Anarchy Update: It is hardly surprising a man who could seriously compare Farnham's Freehold to Hitler's Lebensraum should suffer no cognitive dissonance supporting both the House of Lords and the American Senate. Reading Moorcock's "Starship Stormtroopers" from the days when he was still an avowed anti-monarchist I am reminded of two things: First, anarchists are idiots, and; second, most of Moorcock's epic hero cycles were eminently recyclable.
These MySpace Videos are working fine in Explorer but I am informed that Opera decides to play them as soon as the page opens. I would be grateful if browser savvy Flea-readers might take a look at the source html and let me know why this is the case. Embedded videos are fun but I do not want to put off an Opera-enabled public!
Let's see. Sarah Silverman must have done something newsworthy lately. Her commentary on Kabbalah vs Scientology qualifies. Offensive to everybody obviously so don't let just anyone read this over your shoulder.
Small sidebar: Everything I needed to know about life being fair I learned from this picture.
*On the off-chance you still don't need an insulin injection here is "Tandem" by Halcali. Enjoy!
Stewie Griffin and a close approximation of the Flea dance (nsfw language).
Sadly, this is not enough to prevent me from seeing it.
Not that I am stalking Natalie Portman but say hypothetically I was then Jaunted would so help me out.
In contrast with Walt Disney's wartime production, Waltopia presents this, his last utopian effort from the days when people still believed in heroic urban planning. Disneyland is your land.
Scott Adams asks some cogent questions about respect. If a grad school education in anthropology has accidentally taught me anything it is that Adams is right: We need less respect and more mockery. We need to learn to put up with each other not pretend to agree with each other.
Need an intern to check my blogroll Update: Looking at Spirit Fingers I see she has trumped me not only with the Diamond Stella Egg but the Macdonald sandwich and $1000 Mint Julep. Vexed again! At least she throws in her form-fitting gold vinyl bunny suit so that is a plus.
A University of Glasgow study suggests Goth subculture may protect "vulnerable children." A much larger percentage of the study's (admittedly small) sample of self-identified Goths had engaged in "self-harm" - cutting or burning - than their peers. Researchers noted, however, that this self-harm generally happened before finding whatever solace is to be found in equally mopey company.
Certainly there is no causal relationship between black clothes and violence but acceptance used to be strongly correlated with pointiness of shoes. In these twilight days it is difficult to rely on anything.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
On a related note I learn of yet another Disney bowdlerization. In my future cheertatorship their non-alcoholic abominations will be served only in plastic cups by law.
An atomic war could produce an entirely new species of man. Would he be friend - or foe?
(via James Hudnall)
Attentive Flea-readers will have noticed the Google ads on the side-bar. It will be no surprise to most to learn the majority of search results arriving at the Flea do so via Google's search engine. I draw the line at writing headlines for the benefit of bots. Such is the difference between writng a blog and publishing a newspaper.
Having taught aspiring journalists these last few years I can think of a long list of things not taught in journalism schools. Sullivan's observation was in my top ten.
The Paul Smith shop in Floral Street and sale shop in Avery Row have provided many basics for the sartorial expression of the Flea. Must add his new Furniture and Curiosity shop at No 9 Albemarle Street, Mayfair to the shopping safari list.
Metropolis compares the idea to other designer remixes such as the Pascal Anson ReuniFIcation Project or Fifty by Jeffrey Beers. These are design mash-ups; the "Can't Get Blue Monday Out of My Head" of interiors.
A trailer features a rich soundtrack, hot Templar armour and a boss battle with Balrog-style flame effects is worth a look. It is always difficult to tell if the animation in a video game trailer is going to match up to actual game-play. But if this example comes anything close, Hellgate: London is going to be on the Flea's wishlist.
The Flea's commitment to comprehensive Kate Moss coverage continues* with this update on the Aphrodite of Addiscombe. Marc Quinn's sculpture is influenced by the multi-limbed goddess Shiva, apparently. Hence the bendiness.
Ahh, quite. But back to bendiness: It turns out the "advanced yoga pose" pictured above was not managed by Kate herself. But that is her face for certain. Ahem.
*That's quite enough of that, thanks. - Ed.
*Better quality non-YouTube Love Reality file here, btw.
At 16 years old Daniel Radcliffe, best known as Harry Potter, will be the youngest non-royal to have his portrait displayed in the National Portrait Gallery. Which is an honour even if the portrait does not look much like him. Not that such a minor detail will prevent the Potter hordes from descending upon the Gallery.
Hard on the news that Kylie Minogue is "hopeful" she will be able to play next year's Glastonbury Festival are some holiday snaps taken by her husband Olivier Martinez. The pop pixie has emerged from cancer therapy even more gamine than before.
Blogospheric rock god, Andrew Ian Dodge's Growing Old Disgracefully is now selling ringtones on-line. Most entrepreneurial of them! England, Please Lose It is playing at GarageBand... Though I cannot imagine it is his favourite part of London, the song somehow makes me homesick for Islington. But then Peckham rhymes better with Beckham.
Google Calendar would be a timely addition to Gmail. I have noticed my MS Works Calendar has stopped working after some update or another. Not that I can find this rumoured new calendar in my Gmail account...
The Victoria and Albert Museum hosts an exhibition on Modernism and design saying it is the first to do so from "a truly international perspective." "Modernism: Designing a New World 1914-1939" opens this Friday 14th April and runs until 23rd July.
Which all sounds a bit dry. Hopefully a hit parade of artists, architects and designers will more than off-set lackluster marketing. I am already considering my airfare for a look at work by Francis Picabia, Piet Mondrian, Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Alvar Aalto, László Moholy-Nagy, Marcel Duchamp and a small host of lesser known luminaries.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
A musical adaptation of The Lord of the Rings has opened in Toronto to underwhelming reviews. Conan O'Brien hosts Broadway veteran Nathan Lane who suggests some ways to broaden the show's appeal (hat tip to the Sister of the Flea).
Czech explosives maker Explosia has backed off a lawsuit against Madonna. While her "Semtex Girls" project undoubtedly tramples on Explosia's intellectual property, director Ladislav Lehky says "We can't really prove we suffer a loss from that." Unless, that is, she decides to deal with explosives production.
Explosia would be better advised to keep their powder dry. An anxious world has yet to learn just what Madonna has in mind for her Semtex Girls.
YouTube content has grown so quickly that I find I am linking to it despite the often poor image quality of their files. Big investors including AP and the Financial Times are now reportedly "sniffing around" the site.
A point that was not clear to me: Estella does not star as JD's love interest in the video because she is his girlfriend. The two hooked up after he wanted her to play his girlfriend in the video. Rock on, JD.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Adidas' "White Out" ad for Adicolor features someone called "Jenna Jameson". Must remember to Google the rest of her oeuvre.
I always figured humanity would lose the coming War With The Machines. But somehow I never expected the machines would just show up and kick my ass.
The world's most expensive sandwich. A snip at £85!
Selfridges food and catering director Ewan Venters thinks the McDonald will be a hit with foodies. I think it is rather more likely to be bad news for Kobe's ultrapremium brand. Selfridges is fine but hardly Harvey Nics.
Paris Hilton chose British Elle to finally reveal the reason for her feud with Nicole Richie: Nicole is just jealous. Much as I suspected (via Pink is the New Blog). Perhaps more surprising to many is news via Miu von Furstenberg. Hilton's album may not suck after all.
Ray of Light was one of the few pop albums worth listening to in the long desert of the 1990s. I like Madonna's singing just fine but kudos belongs to her less ultra-famous producer, William Orbit. Such is the difference in credit between front and back of house. Orbit has been making other people sound good for a long time. So long that his fans have had to wait ten years for an all original effort. It was worth the wait.
Contact Music hosts a William Orbit interview and tracks from his new album, Hello Waveform. Best of all is the gorgeous "Spiral" featuring vocals by Sugababes. Samples from the same tunes are also available - with better sound quality - through the player on top of this fancy Orbitmixer.
Flea-fav Kara Janx explains her design process in that devastatingly cute South African accent. Lots of thinking about colour, apparently. Frequent comparisons of her palette to Diane von Furstenberg's use of pattern, and her already iconic wrap dress, suggest a designer to look out for. A video of her decoy catwalk show* for Olympus Fashion Week, while blurry, reveals a collection that should have won her the whole season. Tim Gunn agrees:
*Meant to keep the audience guessing about which designers had made the final three; the Village Voice saw right through it.
Not exactly Project Runway but not exactly off topic either: Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Dose calls Project Catwalk "nothing more than a carbon copy of Heidi Klum’s Project Runway." Umm, ok. We were expecting Aida or something? I can't wait for whatever Elizabeth Hurley comes up with for her auf Wiedersehen! catch-phrase. And this guy with the extreme tache is already my favourite.
Tim Gunn kept a video blog for the second season of Project Runway. Props to Bravo! for the concept and to You Tube for making them easier to access than the show's website. Here are Part I, being on camera; II, on and off camera; III, watching the show; IV, the challenges; V, on the topic of time; VI, "Make it work!"; VII, Raymundo Baltazar and Kirsten Ehrig; VIII, Zulema Griffin and Daniel Franco; IX Andrae Gonzalo, Diana Eng and Kara Janx. Watching all these is a time commitment but a must for Project Runway fans in withdrawal from Season 2. Best insight: Tim explains the disclaimer that runs at the end of each show. Just what is the role of producers in judging each week's catwalk?
Next up... the Tim Gunn Network!
My only complaint about Project Jay was that one show, let alone one one-hour show, was not nearly enough Jay McCarroll media. Fans are going to want to know what happened to that Emmy dress, for one thing.
Don't think we will forget it, Heidi.
Tigarah kicks ass. Here she is rocking the house at Tokyo's second bigggest club, Velfarre.* It sounds like a massive scene. Though Porchboy claims the hip-hop coming out of Senegal these days is "off the hook" so what do I know.
*The biggest being Ageha. Even their Flash animation is bigger.
Ice Age: The Meltdown is a family friendly webgame... and a great way to amaze your cubicle neighbours with your mad flapping skillz.
One catch: The English language options at the SingStar Rocks! website offer British, Irish, Australian and New Zealand choices. North American Flea-readers may have to wait for their chance at SingStar fame.
I once had to recover the remains of mouse from a friend's closet because she and her husband were petrified of it. No problem. When a dead mouse turned up under my own bed it was a different story: I asked a friend to take it away. It seems to me that many phobias are context-specific. A spider out of doors is not troubling in the same way as the one crawling on the ceiling overhead. In fact, many reasonable fears should not be described as "phobias" at all. A fear of heights can be quite sensible and a fear of sharks equally so given the right circumstances. Plummeting to one's death or being made into a snack is best avoided.
But some phobias are more difficult to explain. Take pen-lids, for example.
The chorus to Malo Ognya is stuck in head even though I don't speak more than a word or two of Russian. I found Linda - that's Svetlana Lyvovna Geiman to her mum and dad - while I was looking for Linda Linda at You Tube. Wow, this takes me right back to Mos Eisley days. Good times... Good times.
This Darth Vader musical fills my feel good quota for the week.
Shock Absorber claims to be different from other sports bras. Frankly, I have no idea if this is true. But Shock Absorber's website is definitely different thanks to a possibly not-safe-for-work Bounce-ometer (via Defamer).
With the snow melted it is time to get back on the road. But first I am going to review my bicycle safety in case I run into one of these Planet of the Apes bicycle gangs. Better safe than sorry.
JK Rowling is fighting for a world where her daughters will not grow up to be "empty-headed, self-obsessed, emaciated clones." She is a bit unfair to overpriced handbags and rat-sized dogs but she could not be more right about the important thing. There are a lot of young woman and girls who need help more than they need to be on the cover of a magazine.
Friends don't let friends use CGI on their face. The pixel resolution just isn't there yet.
Face facts Update: Bill has more Kenny Rogers media.
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Hard as it is to believe, there is a growing faction of Kellie Pickler haters to be found in the byways of "the internet." Some believe her calamari and salmon adventures are a put on meant to garner votes from a credulous American Idol viewing public. All I can do is point Flea-readers to Kellie Pickler's prom dress. Now tell me she is not the real thing.
Director of Bollywood hits including Moksham, Janani and Thannal, T. Rajeevnath is reportedly seeking Paris Hilton to star in his forthcoming Mother Teresa bio-pic.
While I am delighted to learn I am not alone in my opinion of the much-maligned socialite, I cannot help but wonder if this is the same face matching software that thought Raymond Chandler and the Flea were separated at birth. In some cases, of course, a resemblance is more than skin deep.
David Beckham cannot have everything; where would he put it?
Given the man's natal chart this sort of behaviour was inevitable; fated, you might say. Revelations of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder may also go some way toward explaining David's pants habit if not the difficulties of a rapidly vanishing Victoria (via A Socialite's Life).
Minimum caloric intake Update: Hollywood Tuna hosts more alarming Victoria Beckham imagery. We shall see if these too are obscured by corporate firewalls.
Damon Albarn uses his free time for Gorillaz, and this is the best Alex James can come up with. Though it is nice to once again consider the mystery of Betty Boo. Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
These Virgin Rail virals should demonstrate subtle differences between ads in North America and the UK.
Jeff outlines reasons he took so long to be issued his Homo Card™.
Good Lord, man. I have a Macy's card and I do not even live in the States, am not certain how many shoes I own, download Madonna mash-ups (latest: "Hung Up On Blue Monday") and treasure the memory of rolling out of the member's bar at the Royal National Theatre in time to see Dame Judi Dench in "A Little Night Music." Admittedly, I am also more of a dog person so that might explain something.* Still. Jeff: Yentl is crossing a line.
*Especially considering I just realized CATS was in block-caps.
A Flea-reader asks if there is a relationship between deconstruction and cipher systems. Cryptanalysis being more straightforward than poststructuralist theory, he gets cipher systems but does not get deconstruction. His is a not unreasonable inference; after all, to deconstruct something is to take it apart. Indeed, this is close to the way the term is used in fashion. A rigorous usage may be applied to the thought-provoking work of a Vivienne Westwood but generally speaking any old garment intentionally made to look unfinished is often described as "deconstructed." I should admit a less scrupulous usage suggests partially dressed models with bedhead and morning-after make-up (though such is not to complain).
I too have never been able to understand deconstruction... largely a function of deconstruction self-consciously "resisting" the ascription of "meaning" to its "destabilization" of "texts", etc. etc. etc. Reading Jacques Derrida gives me a headache; seemingly endless waffling reliant on bad readings of Plato and critiquing the wrong mistakes in structural analysis. Worse yet is listening to American academics who cannot (or cannot be bothered to) read Derrida and instead use the word "deconstruct" as a synonym for "analyze" when "analyze" would have worked just as well. I shall try to summarize nonetheless. Be patient with me as I get to Keira Knightley's nipple.
The basic idea is that it is a mistake to look for the meaning of a text (be it a novel, a video or a political tract) outside the text itself. It would, for example, make no odds what Madonna has to say about her work because she has no privileged understanding or special insight to offer even as its creator; any comment she has to offer about a particular song is only to add another text independent of the song. Now, I am four-square with Camille Paglia in thinking Madonna should resist the urge to talk about her own work but I do not believe this offers much support for Derrida's case. To him, the problem is not that artists are idiots but that critics have mistakenly looked for meaning in concepts such as truth, beauty, genius or authority that transcend any particular expression of such concepts in the form of a play or a novel. A text, in other words, is meaningful without needing to make an appeal to, or being underpinned by, some transcendental object. This extends not only to the meta-meanings of traditional literary criticism but modern ideas like "class" or "the unconscious."
Deconstruction then is a kind of critique meant to uncover the assumptions in a text that, through their absence, lend the text a false coherence. So, off the top of my head here, the apparent narrative coherence of "Pride and Prejudice" relies on the fact of what we are meant to assume about the meaning of the financial impoverishment, and embarrassment of riches in terms of daughters, that keeps Mrs. Bennet so twitchy. Jane Austen hints at this off the top: "It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife." It is only in so far as readers recognize this "universal truth" that Austen's characters and contexts can make sense. A deconstruction of this assertion, and consequently of the novel (and most literary criticism of the novel) would point out that the Bennets themselves are part of high society, have servants, a large home, are literate, etc. and so forth and that their plight is only relative. The rags to riches romance of Elizabeth Bennet is a kind of fig leaf for a social system dependent on radical inequalities that benefit her and which are only masked further when she finally snags Darcy (sorry to blow the ending there).
Well, this is fine as far as it goes. It could be I have undersold deconstruction here, and there may be more to it than this, but for the most part I read deconstructions of literary texts and they look like warmed over cultural criticism dressed up with extraneous buzzwords. If the obscured meaning of "Pride and Prejudice" is class conflict or unequal gender relations we can get there through a Marxist or feminist analysis and no need to deconstruct anything. Ahh, might say a deconstructionist, but the apparent coherence of the novel can be challenged without making recourse to other texts such as "class" or "woman" which are themselves subject to deconstruction. In which case, I would reply, the text means something without meaning to mean it and this is a formulation we can get to through a psychoanalytic or structuralist reading without suffering Derrida's migraine inducing prose. Not that this would put the slightest dent in deconstructionist sophistry. Talking to these people is a hamster wheel exercise; they have no point to make and so it is impossible to nail them down on one. And the fact their arguments make no sense is smugly proferred as a demonstration of a deconstructive rejection of having to make sense in the first place.* Gahh! Stab! Stab! Stab!
I like things to make sense. For example, I think my Lacanian psychoanalytic reading of Austen is interesting because it suggests something of what lends "Pride and Prejudice" its enduring fascination. Elizabeth has to work through her resistance to the idea that she loves, and consequently wants to marry, Darcy despite the fact that this is exactly what society - and most especially her mother - want her to do. In other words, she must acknowledge the fact she loves Darcy even though it is convenient for her to do so. I believe this is a reasonably clever, if blindingly obvious, reading and potentially useful in explaining the continuing relevance of Austen's novel in reflecting on romantic relationships in our own experience; this despite the varieties of social and cultural distance we have from Regency society (and by "we" I do not include the genteel existence of Flea Towers).
Anyway, the short answer is there is no obvious relationship between cipher systems and deconstruction despite the latter's claims to "decipher" texts. The first are useful and explicable while the second is posturing bullshit. Thank you for your patience: Here is a picture of Keira Knightley's nipple. Intertextuality matters, people.
*As Jacques Derrida put it himself, "I would say that deconstruction loses nothing from admitting that it is impossible." Though I suppose we are not meant to lend his opinion any special weight in the matter.
Enlightenment sickness Update: Theseus offers an interesting apologia for Derrida. Though it seems to me his Buddhist reading owes much more to phenomenology (interesting and sound) than to deconstruction (posturing bullshit, see above). Suggested reading: "Biogenetic Structural Theory and the Neurophenomenology of Consciousness" and "Transpersonal anthropology, then and now" both by Flea-mentor Charles Laughlin.
Just what you need for a case of the Mondays... Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
Writing for the CBC, Matthew McKinnon considers "our home and native blogs" and thoughtfully provides a guide to ten of Canada's arts and entertainment bloggers. It is difficult to say whether I am happier for the Flea to be included in the list or by his choice of Flea goth link (this is a CBC article, after all).
Writing from Tokyo, While Peril accounced impending cherry blossoms, "falling-down-drunkness and inescapable karaoke" a couple weeks ago. Now his update from sakura ga oka expresses wonder but a distinct lack of drinking and karaoke reportage.
Which does sound wonderful; and if The Economist's cherry blossoms in Washington article is to be believed, hanami (flower-watching) parties are "glorious even to the sober."
Now is the time at the Flea when we dance.
While I am sore tempted to get in on that Umkehrwalze "B" action*, Zeekar offers two sensible alternatives in the Facilities Manager's comments. Consider a Curta as a budget-conscious Enigma alternative or cut out the middle-man and make your own paper Enigma machine.
*Making this a German Army and Air Force Enigma.
Debate about the make-up of, and consequently nominations to, the United States Supreme Court are undoubtably important to all Americans - whether or not they happen to be paying attention - and U.S. Supreme Court decisions can have far reaching effects beyond America's borders. That said, can we please give Justice Antonin Scalia a break? I mean, che cazzo stai dicendo...