How to make a pop star.

November 30, 2012 at 9:39 am (pop culture)

I wrote this for another website but they ended up not using it, so here it is, for Gynomite! 

I think a lot about pop culture a lot, and more specifically, how we consume it. There are tons of actors/personalities/musicians out there, so why do some of them stay “oh, what’s her face from that show” while others are vaulted into the stratosphere of fame? What relationship do we have with these superstars, and why can we never get enough? Why is Nicki Minaj more famous than Ashanti? Why Taylor Swift and not the lady that did the “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” song? These are the things that fascinate me, because often it has very little to do with the product they’re putting out, and more with the product that is them- their personal lives, their style, where they hang out- and sometimes it’s little more than that. Gone are the days when you would release a song and sit back to see what happens- now our musicians are packages to be opened and consumed. Not to gank from the TV show, but what is that X factor that makes a female musician go from female musician to demigoddess? If one wanted to become a pop star, what could one do to increase one’s chances?

Let’s find out.

I went through a long list of pop stars from the 80s to current day to try and isolate the qualities that separate them from the mere mortal musicians around them. So let’s assume that beyond the standard attractiveness, catchy songs, and lucrative record deals, here are a few of the ingredients you may need in order to be a famous pop star. Use this for your own edification, or perhaps join me in creating a Frankenstein’s monster of fame and signature perfumes.

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James Brown, Michael Jackson, and Prince

November 30, 2012 at 9:28 am (music)

It’s Friday, so please enjoy this video of James Brown inviting Michael Jackson and Prince onstage back in 1983. Several things to notice:

1) MJ’s amazing dance moves

2) The old white man that piggybacks Prince to the stage

3) How shy Prince looks before he grabs the guitar and makes sweet love to it

4) Holy shit Prince is sex…

5) …followed up by him thinking a stage lamp post was a real lamp post

This video brought to you by Chris Neary, who clearly knows me very well.

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Gynomite’s Reading Room!

November 28, 2012 at 1:27 pm (gynomite's reading room)

It is my thought that Dana Jones, the person interviewed about this very sad news story, had a stern, semi-sarcastic lesson for people reading it. Please read the final line.

This Swedish toy company decided to switch the genders in their Christmas catalogue- enjoy these shots of boys playing with dollhouses and girls wielding plastic guns!

This long piece in Grantland is about the origins of Lost, and it is genius. Sent by Vivek. Here’s a taste:

As the show continued to be wildly popular in those early weeks, Lindelof says, “I was completely and totally creatively crippled by people saying two things: 1) ‘How are they going to keep this up?’ And I had no idea. 2) ‘They better have really satisfying answers to all these mysteries.’ And I was like, ‘We have satisfying answers for all the character ones.'”

Enjoy some vintage commercials starring celebrities! Mila Kunis, Jack Black, and more!

The AV Club’s horrifying writeup of That’s My Boy.

On the heels of this weekend’s/week’s #1reasonwhy movement on Twitter, #1reasontobe, eloquently summarized by GiantBomb. My favorite part:

Elevating the discussion of misogyny implies there is no misandry, or so the argument goes. I don’t buy that, and have trouble reasoning with people who continue to peddle it. Bringing up one very real problem does not invalidate other very real problems, but being so dismissive of the argument suggests you aren’t taking the original argument seriously, and instead want to discredit it because you don’t believe it has any merit in the first place. At least be honest.

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Design Yoko, DESIGN!!!

November 28, 2012 at 10:11 am (fashion)

You guys, Yoko Ono has designed a clothing line, and it is insane. From the website:

Titled “Fashions for Men 1969-2012,” the limited-edition line is based on a book of hand-drawn illustrations that Yoko presented to John Lennon on the occasion of their wedding. 43 years later, Yoko and OC have worked together to bring her sketches to life!

You can see all of them here, and really, you should. Here are my favorites.

Eyelet tank: $150
Bell belt: $295
Hand trousers: $335
This look says “Ladies, ring my bell, then put your hands on my crotch, then back away slowly, never breaking eye contact. That’s what gets me off.”

 

Open-toe Thigh High Boots: $750
That pocket on the side is helpful. You can put your dignity in it.

Lightbulb bra: $250
Hand trousers: $335
Which is to say, you could spend $585 to look like this. (The bra lights up)

 

Conservative pants: $255
Cutouts at the inner knees, hand on the butt, and you’re dressed! Conservatively.

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Gynomite’s Reading Room!

November 26, 2012 at 9:49 am (gynomite's reading room)

Kumail and I are so excited to try the Hobbit menu at Denny’s we can’t even stand it. And yes, we know it’s a dumb gimmick, and yes, we know Denny’s is gross, but no, we don’t care. Big chain restaurants don’t care if your money is spent ironically.

Maybe a bit of a boring read, but this is an interesting essay about why it’s okay to not have the person best at the chores doing the chores. If you’re married, a must read.

New Indoor Kids episode up today with our pal Gabe Delahaye! We tried a new format where we discuss current gaming news, but don’t worry, we still manage to talk about sex and play music randomly.

Wiener is cumming: the genius of Kelsy Abbott. Please go enjoy her NSFW poster of a Game of Thrones porn parody.

Breaking news: Moby charges over $150K per appearance! Today!

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Toxic friendships.

November 26, 2012 at 9:20 am (relationships, Uncategorized)

My parents did a pretty good job of raising me to not let dudes treat me like shit (even though I seemed to seek it out on occasion), but what they couldn’t have prepared me for was for the parade of toxic female friendships I seemed to attract from elementary school through my late 20s. Writing a thing about female friendships recently made me realize just how many of my friendships were weirdly abusive, so I thought I’d make a quick list of some of the shitty things that have occurred between myself and another girl in the name of “friendship”.

Note: I am not saying that all females are like this- in fact, I’m saying the opposite. Most of my female friendships have been amazing, which makes these relationships so much more glaring.

Note #2: I am not looking for pity from this, but rather, recognition. I don’t think that I’m the only relatively sane girl who has somehow gotten involved in terribly shitty friendships.

Note #3: I have probably done mean things to girlfriends in my life, but these aren’t isolated incidents, but rather snapshots from relationships that are constantly built on running hot and cold- the kind of relationship where you’re left wondering what you did wrong to make them hate you today, and left hoping that tomorrow they’ll be your pal again.

Note #4: All names changed, obviously.

  • When teenage me flirted with a boy, my friend Lenore told me that I was being a slut and I was embarrassing myself.
  • Elementary school me let Marissa only speak to me based on whether or not popular girls were around her. Otherwise, she would ignore me, or be outright rude to me.
  • Grownup me was recently single and wanted someone to go to a concert with me so badly that I paid for Rena’s ticket and gave her gas money. It was a band we both loved. I didn’t ask to be paid back, but she informed me that she wouldn’t pay me back because she was doing me a favor by going.
  • Nina invited me on a beach trip with her family, and the third day in, stopped speaking to me. This was routine for Nina, so I don’t know why I was surprised, but she didn’t speak to me for four days. She only glared at me and scoffed when I spoke. Her family was embarrassed but seemed fine with it overall.
  • Laura would just throw a fit anytime I told her I had: work stuff, school stuff, boyfriend stuff, family stuff, other friend stuff. Her fits would include health concerns, suicide threats, and just general explosions of fury.
  • Deanna made me stay up very very late at a sleepover rehearsing a dance that she and I choreographed. When I said I was tired and wanted to go to bed, she hit me (she actually hit me with her fist) and told me that if I was in her house I’d have to do what she wanted.
  • After grownup me got really sick and was hospitalized for a month, I needed a lot of time to recover. A lot. Jenny was very distraught about me being sick and insisted that she come over to make sure I was okay. When I tiredly said no, she became very angry with me.

It’s funny, after having written all these down, they don’t really seem so terrible. I’m still not really capturing the feeling of unease and dread I would have being friends with these girls, a feeling I had from the beginning. Part of me was just wanting friends so badly that I suppose I just ignored my gut. What I’ve learned since then is that I’m not required to have a certain number of friends, or a best friend, so that if hanging out with someone feels even slightly bad, I back away immediately.

Have you had toxic friendships? What have they looked like? Have you stopped taking them on, or do a few still slip through?

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Gynomite’s Reading Room!

November 24, 2012 at 2:39 pm (gynomite's reading room)

This is an amazingly written review about LiLo’s Liz & Dick movie, which I will be watching tomorrow night, written by my pal Willa.

Mary Sue is my favorite new meme- go read her origin story!

I was interviewed for this article about hate-watching TV- enjoy it!

This is a fantastic interview with the guy who played Moriarty in Sherlock, one of my favorite roles of anyone ever.

This kid is swinging for the fences. The Sheldon-painted fences. This show premieres tonight on Nickelodeon, and I think I’m going to have to hate watch it.

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Gynomite’s Reading Room!

November 20, 2012 at 10:32 am (gynomite's reading room)

This is a great collection of the early version of famous songs- MGMT and Michael Jackson are MUST LISTENS.

My pal and former boss Julieanne is on tour with Rihanna and it’s devolved into some Lord of the Flies shit.

New Indoor Kids episode is up, and it’s all about Halo Halo Halo!

This post about “end of life conversations” really got to me, and feels like an important read for everyone. At HuffPo.

A new episode of Love in the Time of Robots is up over at UStream! Go check out Gabe and I talking about bisexuality and online dating, tweeting pictures of yourself naked, and more!

Haters gonna hate, the NYTimes edition. Christy Wampole on what she believes to be “ironic versus non-ironic living”.

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Ask Gynomite!

November 20, 2012 at 10:12 am (ask gynomite)

(sorry it’s all bunched up- working on formatting!)

In her former life, Emily “Gynomite” Gordon was a couples and family therapist licensed in 2 1/2 states.  In this life, she’s a freelance fighter of your emotional woes with Ask Gynomite.  Write her at askgynomite@gmail.com- all emails stay confidential.  Today, Gynomite takes on the slippery slope of self deprecation.

I self-deprecate. Apparently it’s something not everyone enjoys about people, let alone me. Online, especially twitter, I do it a lot for the purposes of being funny. I find my flaws and being in awkward situations to be humorous and like that I can laugh at myself in that regard, and a lot of people seem to find it funny as well. However, others have said I do it a lot more than I realize it and do so very harshly. I thought real long and hard why and how long I’ve been doing it. It’s pretty much so that others can’t attack me, I lay my cards out on the table and say, “here, look at how well I can make fun of myself more than you can,” and “don’t expect much of anything from me, so praise me when I do something right.” It’s basically about my inadequacies, or perceived inadequacies. 

I’m the youngest of four, twin eldest brothers and sister, and I’ve felt like I’ve always fought for attention from my parents, and even when I got it whatever silly child thing I brought to the table wasn’t worth it. I remember specific instances in my early childhood where my dad told me that what I was doing wasn’t good enough, that I should be doing better. What he probably thought was encouragement, I saw as being retarded/malformed. It didn’t help that I was physically not great, a high metabolism and general inability to play sports made me feel I was all around failure. Add in a random encounter with older girls in elementary where I helped them out and was disparaged as soon as they got their way.

Beyond this, because of film and media, I’ve wanted so badly to be the guy women wanted to be with, whether someone like Adam Sandler in Wedding Singer or Brad Pitt in any of his films, I wanted to be That Guy. What really made me want to write you was listening to you on RJ & Bley Suck at Girls. I’ve had two girlfriends but been with three women, the first I grew to be very comfortable and the lifelong ticklishness was gone, but after the breakup I noticed that when I was uncomfortable it would come back. In both instances my inadequacies flared up, and I went full-on “what the hell am I doing here, I don’t belong here.” I guess as time went on I got worse with self-deprecation, but I still did it because people still laughed.

A lot of the points you made about getting over body issues, I’ve gone through it or half-assed: I’ve gotten massages, put on an air of “this is the best me,” I realized that the person I was with wouldn’t be with me if they didn’t like me physically, I exercised regularly and ate healthy and felt great (but stopped when I looked at myself and nothing objectively changed), I’ve tried to stay clear of porn for a couple weeks. However, I feel like I can’t appreciate my body or self in transition, sure I’ve been told I’m handsome and what not but no matter from who it is I feel like it doesn’t hold water, so I can’t take compliments well, and cannot shrug off flaws about my body. 

So as much as I want to be the guy people want me to be, part of me feels like why bother if I’m not great already, or no matter how hard I try it won’t be or do much. Plus, I don’t like the idea of stroking my ego, of boasting about nothing. I’ve tried to put myself in social situations where I can get comfortable with people in general and not self-deprecate but if I’m not interacting with someone, say just on the trolley, I feel like those people are laughing at me at how hard I’m trying to be normal. Physically and mentally I just feel insecure.

How can I let go of being hurt from things that essentially shaped how I interact with people? Do I just fake it til I make it, go back and do all physical boosters and the mental health will follow along?

Well, here’s the thing: this was probably the most insightful, well written, thought out letter I have ever received. Now sure, insight doesn’t equal behavior change, but I gotta tell you, you are a thousand times more insightful than most people who have been in therapy for years. So at the very least, holy shit do you have that going for you.

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Gynomite’s Reading Room!

November 16, 2012 at 10:25 am (gynomite's reading room, Uncategorized)

For the first time ever, the UN has declared access to birth control a basic human right, rather than a privilege. Amazing step in the right direction.

Kumail and I were on Attack of the Show yesterday, talking about games for the holiday!

The Honda Fit She’s is the newest thing in cars designed for girls- it’s pink, it’s smaller, and it’s got air conditioning that prevents wrinkles!

A lof of people have already blown this up, but this is David Simon’s response to our bizarre fascination with the sex scandals of our public figures. It is genius and a must-read.

I wrote this for Mashable about the top new arguments that technology has created in relationships!

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