Tuesday, February 08, 2005

A Mardi Gras Melange

Inspired by the carnival of TV images that came at me while at the rec center this morning, I offer these observations:

(1) Country music videos are very strange. Or not strange enough. Some pretty obvious emotional work going on there: Sania Twain in a corset-topped gown, riding a white horse through vaguely renaissance-inflected sets; Kenny Chesney in his little straw cowboy hat, singing in front of a lighted carousel at night, interrupted by scenes from a summer of beach love; some guy with intensely dimpled cheeks singing about kids, while images of unfailingly smiley children flash by.

(2) Condoleeza Rice says the middle east has a "deficit of freedom." I have to admit, I haven't been paying close attention to the way this administration flings around that word. I knew that Bush had repeated it ad nauseum in his inaugural address, but just that fact made me sort of tired and uninterested. But, really--a "deficit of freedom." Also--we're on the right side of the freedom chasm, the Arab world is on the wrong side. Some pretty interesting frames there. Freedom no longer as in modernist thought an absence of restraints, but now a thing, a commodity, a kind of income.

(3) And, speaking of Condoleeza, why is it that she must speak so precisely while the president, who though speaking as if a good ol boy is nonetheless a blue blood with some short eastern roots, can speak so slovenly? It's not that I'm trying to buy into the "he sounds so dumb" faction because, as a native Texan, I'm not very happy with the idea that a vaguely Texan accent makes a person sound dumb. (Not that I sound much like a Texan these days, having excised traces of it probably for the same reason Condoleeza may well have excised traces of an accent in her speech.) Rather, I'm interested in the fact that Condoleeza and I chose to get rid of our accents (I realize I'm making an assumption about her, but she was born in the south, after all, and occasionally I can hear traces of that sneaking in) and Mr. Bush has chosen to heighten his.

(4) Rubberband man on ESPN. I'm speechless.

(5) Jim Belushi on the View. How did slovenly sexism become so funny and even cute? (I'm talking reception here, not my personal opinion, lest I'm misunderstood.)

(6) Toni Braxton wants to make a comeback. VH1 is trying to help. That's all I have to say about that.

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