Thursday, October 20, 2011

Episode 1123: Crunching Through The Spectrum Of Culture

I've come to realise that Dirty Soap, the newest addition to E!'s reality stable, is actually pretty compelling viewing. Oddly, part of the appeal, for me anyway, is that the drama on it is pretty, well, tame. Plus these people are all in their 30s or approaching it, and all but one are soap stars to begin with, so it's almost like there's no need to excessively manufacture additional drama because their daily jobs already involve the hilarious messiness of soap opera plotlines. I mean, there's the usual amount of stagey stuff, but mostly, it's just a bunch of friends (and frenemies) getting along with their professional and personal lives. It's difficult to even find a clear villain among the lot (although Farah Fath is clearly meant to be the closest thing), which is strange because that is usually a must for a reality series. In any case, the cast is ridiculously attractive, so the show's watchable just for that. (The ridiculousness was, perhaps, highlighted in this week's episode when Brandon Beemer literally spent all of it being insecure about walking the runway at a fashion show. Seriously? Yawn.) It's like the cast from one of The CW's teen dramas got aged into people who actually look like adults, as opposed to adults pretending to be teens.

To flip to the opposite end on the cultural spectrum, I've got a new review up at Sabotage Reviews which you can check out here. It's of Sarah Dawson's chapbook, Anatomically Incorrect Sketches Of Marine Animals, self-published for the Kindle. The poems are enjoyably lyrical, but they get even better when you start analysing the play with language that's going on in them, as my review notes. That's one review done, with two outstanding. Would've been three if that collection sent by Drunken Boat ever reached me over the summer. Shame, I'd been looking forward to that one. I also attended a Sidelights on Shakespeare session this afternoon, where Thomas Docherty gave a paper called 'Celtic Shakespeare'. Pretty different stuff from the usual academic papers, e.g. the Celtic being referred to here is the Glaswegian football club. What Thomas was talking about with the politics of education really struck me. It is hard for me to escape the conclusion that to a certain extent, the person that I am, intellectually and socially, has been profoundly shaped by a system that privileges and rewards academic ability with opportunities in an upward spiral, whose endgame is a scholarship for tertiary education. Yet at the same time, the reason I can reflect on my own life and say this sort of thing is precisely because I've received the kind of education that I have. It's problematic, right?

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