Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Pop Culture’ Category

Shattered_Mirror_2_by_wolfrain319

If a woman is looked upon as an object, without feelings, life, soul, or thoughts, then it is easy to ingest images of her that defy her humanity. She is not a woman — a living creature with human attributes. She is merely a body, a vacant, empty, vessel intended to contain the needs of others — preferably men — and her body, which is the most desired aspect of her existence, perfect, lithe, smooth and hair-free, is open for interpretation and domination.

-Marina DelVecchio, The New Agenda

In an era in which human beings claim to be ever more enlightened and concerned with justice, the manner in which violence against women is depicted on television, on the internet, and in movies has never been more graphic. In fact, our society has become so desensitized to this that it’s generally considered a normal part of our entertainment. We’re so accustomed to seeing women belittled, berated, beaten, raped, and murdered that we might feel nothing but a vague ambivalence as we watch our favorite shows, be they true crime, fantasy, sitcoms, reality, or comedy.

In 2014 a group from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology published a study, Contribution of Media to the Normalization and Perpetuation of Domestic Violence, in the Austin Journal of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. They pointed out that domestic violence (DV) is “becoming more prevalent in social media as well as academic literature. Based on the astonishing prevalence rates of DV there are good reasons to consider this issue an epidemic.” The researchers go on to say that, “DV continues to be normalized through its comedic portrayal via news outlets, magazines, advertisements, and television shows.”

This study highlighted various contributing factors to the prevalence of DV in the media, including video games, cultural and family values, religious tradition, advertisements, and the news. In particular, they discussed how DV is portrayed through humor, and how this too desensitizes us to the seriousness of what is, truly, an epidemic. They offer statistics to illustrate just how vibrantly alive and well this violence is. Additionally, they make a fantastic point that all of this desensitization and joking leads to DV being underreported—and therefore victims are underserved.

Domestic violence can be portrayed as exciting, romantic, and sexy, with couples “needing” to fight so they can have passionate make-up sessions. Some TV channels targeted at particular cultures often portray teary-eyed, emotional women playing second fiddle to demanding macho men. This dynamic can also be seen in America’s long-running soap operas, with high drama ping-ponging between characters and constant tension and betrayal. As Lucy Lopez of the Sonoma State Star pointed out last year, the movie Suicide Squad (per the original comic) shows prison psychiatrist Harley Quinn being brutally tortured into becoming the Joker’s abused girlfriend.

Similarly, Dr. Wind Goodfriend’s 2011 Psychology Today blog post outlines how the Twilight series sets fans up for abusive relationships. It glorifies the awkward girl with low-esteem being enticed and isolated by a forbidden man. If you’ve ever read Sandra L. Brown’s Women Who Love Psychopaths or How to Spot a Dangerous Man, you’ll easily recognize how the Edward-Bella dynamic could be very dangerous in real live even if it does make for an intriguing story.

More recently, the HBO series Game of Thrones has made sexual violence even more mainstream, showcasing marital rape, incest, the gang rape of a minor, and other brutal sexual assaults. While the show’s creator points out that rape is just as much a part of history as war, even longtime fans of the show began to question the value of actually depicting and watching such acts. Over and over, women on this show have been viciously assaulted, causing some to label the series medieval rape porn.

As of mid-2015, Michelle Jaworski of The Daily Dot said that there were 50 rape acts and 29 rape victims in Game of Thrones to date. The books the show is based on contained 215 rapes and 117 rape victims. The recent Twin Peaks revival revisits the story of a teen raped by her father for years and then brutally murdered by him. Supposedly she was “too strong” for the evils that wanted to consume her, escaping them through death—as if that were her only out. Themes of incest, sex with minors, and other women’s murders are woven into the Twin Peaks mythology, which also contains likable, entertaining characters and storylines. Despite its selling points, it always seems like someone’s sick sexual fantasies are lurking underneath.

Back in 1985, five years before Twin Peaks debuted, The Center for Media Literacy and UCLA’s Neil Malamuth discussed the rise of sexual violence. They found that sexual violence had negative effects on a significant number of people, potentially increasing the likelihood of attacks and warping children’s sexuality. Thirty-two years later, we still debate whether ingesting violence via the media has any effect on our real world behavior as we deal with a whole new level of crime and terrorism including school shootings. Domestic violence in all forms is thriving. Presentations of it on the screen just get deeper, darker, and more disturbed.

When a program or movie portrays a story of an abused or assaulted woman getting revenge or seeking justice, we seem to accept vivid portrayals of her victimization as just part of the story. True crime shows often include these portrayals. Some call this crime porn; we don’t intend to watch pornography, but the depiction of the crime in the show might as well be. We also laugh along with countless sitcoms and adult cartoons that show dysfunctional relationships in which men and women often nitpick, threaten, and insult each other. Arguably most of our country believes this negativity is to be expected in a relationship.

PreventConnect has an amazing list, Movies, documentaries, and video clips related to Violence Against Women, that includes fictional movies on the topic and many educational shorts designed to prevent it. A quick look at this collection shows how glaring the problem of violence directed at women, including domestic violence, still is. I challenge you to watch at least one of these shorts every day for a week without altering your regular viewing schedule. The gruesome reality of how saturated our programming is with harming women will begin to stand out—even to those of us who already believe we have an acute awareness of the issue.

*************************************************************************************

Originally written for a newsletter before the Weinstein scandal broke, but all the more relevant now.

*************************************************************************************

©2017 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

DSCN2799

On a recent Saturday a friend and I decided to visit the Jimi Hendrix Memorial in Renton, Washington. Hendrix was a Seattle native who was originally buried in a simple grave in Greenwood Memorial Park following his death in 1970. More recently he was moved to this amazing site which is a fitting tribute to a musical genius.

The marble used is stunning, as is the domed design.

DSCN2800

The lyrics to Voodoo Child.

DSCN2801

There is a polished sundial and the stones around the memorial look like they belong on a concert stage.

DSCN2806

Inside the memorial the panels are covered with lipstick. Germs! It’s also probably not good for the stone either.

DSCN2808.JPG

DSCN2809

I wondered if this was his original grave marker. He was so young. I don’t have any love for the lifestyle that took him so early on, but he was a pioneer and a true artist who paved the way for future innovations.

DSCN2811

Other Hendrix relatives are buried here as well.

DSCN2812

Hendrix had a tumultuous upbringing and a lot of turmoil in his short life. He died before I was born but his music has always been a part of my life.

DSCN2813.JPG

*************************************************************************************

It’s funny how most people love the dead, once you’re dead, you’re made for life. -Jimi Hendrix

*************************************************************************************

©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Read Full Post »

Totem Lake 14

Midday today I ran by the Totem Lake Mall in Kirkland, Washington to see what had been torn down. See my post below for more information on why this 1973, long-neglected piece of property is experiencing such radical change.

When I pulled in, a large number of cars were parked in the southwest corner of the lot. I couldn’t figure out why when big machines were actively pulling down parts of the building. I looked inside– and 24 Hour Fitness was still open! It was surreal to see people running on treadmills and lifting weights as part of the building they were in was being actively demolished. It was well-planned and perfectly safe, but somewhat apocalyptic.

Peeking in the main entrance of the lower mall hoping for a last glimpse of its innards, I was shocked to see the upper mall. The middle back section of the lower mall had already been removed. Get used to this view, folks, because the new mall is going to feature a central gathering place like this in the middle of the lower mall. Can’t wait for our first flash mob.

Totem Lake 15

Totem Lake 16

Totem Lake 17

Here’s the view around the back.

Totem Lake 18

Totem Lake 19

Totem Lake 20

Totem Lake 21

As I was standing here I could see the original wood structure and the pungent smell of that wood hung in the air.

Totem Lake 22

Soon this corridor will be gone too, replaced by a large mixed residential-commercial complex. This is the upper mall. Trader Joe’s will get a brand new space, but unfortunately, Janell’s Gluten-Free Market will be moving to Woodinville.

Totem Lake 23

Also, check out this cool Facebook page local historian Matt McCauley shared, You know you are from Kirkland if…. This provides a clever way for those associated with the area to share their thoughts on the big changes in the community right now.

The changes at the Totem Lake Mall, even though they’re positive, have awoken a lot of nostalgic feelings. So I’m throwing in Twenty One Pilots’ Stressed Out as an ode to our childhoods. For the record, I know the best is yet to come even if sometimes we pine for the days of He-Man, Apollo Creed, and big personalized plastic combs in our back pockets.

*************************************************************************************

©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com

Read Full Post »

Totem Lake 1

It’s time. The Totem Lake Mall in Kirkland, Washington is coming down. This curious combination of upper and lower mall divided by 120th Avenue Northeast originally opened in 1973. After years of legal wrangling, a developer is finally going forward with plans to demolish most of the lower mall and all of the upper.

If you’re passing by on I-405, just east of the freeway you can see three tall blue metal boxes at the entrance to the lower mall. The tall box, once a working clock, contains the poles that held the original Totem Lake sign created by local artist Kenton Pies. Thank you to sharp-eyed local blogger and fellow history buff Jana Robertson of Visiting Vintage for pointing this out.

Totem Lake 6

Totem Lake 3

Totem Lake 4

The front of the lower mall is looking mighty bare. Once upon a time, we bought our school clothes at Lamonts just inside those front doors to the right. Construction equipment is parked around the back and fences have started to go up.

Totem Lake 7

Locate marks are beginning to appear. Call 811 before you dig!

Totem Lake 5

This is what the Totem Lake Mall sign used to look like, courtesy of Jana Robertson. These are the poles you see above. A few years ago I asked around as to whether the winged sign had been preserved and it’s been lost. It sounds like it rotted. Kenton Pies, who painstakingly carved and sculpted this sign, said he would have saved it had he been given the chance. I’m hoping some vestige of this is left underneath the ’80s blue metal, like maybe the board with the dots on it.

Totem Lake 8

Here is Kenton with the sign. He created a number of Native American-themed carvings for the mall and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that someone, somewhere still has them– or that some will be uncovered before the buildings are taken down. Kenton now lives in Montana and Jana graciously connected me with him. His work is all over this area. You know the Kingsgate neighborhood signs? Yep, Kenton. Among scores of other examples.

Totem Lake 13

More great information collected by Jana. Note that the two-faced head is plastic.

Totem Lake 9

Another view of the sign. And yes, there really is a Totem Lake nearby. You can’t really see it from Totem Lake Boulevard or 120th, but a boardwalk meanders into it. The city will be redeveloping the park along with the mall. I hope the many birds and beavers stick around as it becomes more popular with humans.

Totem Lake 10

This is what the inside of the mall looked like in the ’70s. In the ’80s, those wonderful beams were covered up by a false ceiling and that side of the mall took on a creepy vibe. I hope the beams, if still present, can be repurposed.

Totem Lake 11

Another example of Kenton Pies’ art at the mall. What happened to all of this? If it still exists, we need to get it into the hands of the local historical organizations.

Totem Lake 12

While the mall’s extreme makeover will bring a boost and jobs to Kirkland’s economy– including a Whole Foods– the concept looks like it could be anywhere, sort of generic and Californian. I wish the same Northwest character that infused the original mall from ’73 could find its way into the plans of 2016. And that includes the wide-ranging talents of one Kenton Pies.

For more information on this project, see Totem Lake Mall Redevelopment.

Bonus feature: some more local references!

*************************************************************************************

History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are. -David McCullough

*************************************************************************************

©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Read Full Post »

Wetlands Couch

In the Puget Sound area, we have more opportunities to reduce, reuse, recycle than just about anywhere else in our galaxy. Why, then, are appliances, electronics, carpets, all types of furniture, and bags of trash routinely set out on the street or dumped into sensitive areas?

Nothing says, “I’m too lazy to go to the thrift store or use Craigslist” than part of a couch on the edge of a wetlands area. Am I assuming a motive? Yes. But you’d be amazed at how much time your local government agencies spend picking up things that could have been donated or otherwise easily disposed of. On your dime, by the way.

We have made such a mess of the world we were told to take care of… and through our slovenly laziness thoughtlessly make our garbage someone else’s problem. Perhaps Dante’s third circle is not about slush and rain but being forced to pick up all the beer bottles, McDonald’s wrappers, and old stereos thrown into the bushes over one’s lifetime. Backwards, blindfolded, and in a padded sumo suit with ridiculously large floppy clown shoes.

*************************************************************************************

©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Read Full Post »

Gas Prices.JPG

We knew gas prices were low, but whew… I did a double take and had to circle back to make sure my eyes weren’t deceiving me.

Is regular is 89 cents or 69 9/10, is super 39 or 59, and is diesel 29 or 39? Did someone slide digits from outdated prices over or is this a new form of advertising? (“Oh sorry, the wind must have done that.”)

We also don’t know what happened to the semi-missing three digits. But the smaller sign implies that you must engage in fisticuffs or some sort of competition to win fuel prices that haven’t been seen since the ’60s or ’70s.

Road trip, anyone?

*************************************************************************************

Finland has produced so many brilliant distance runners because back home it costs $2.50 a gallon for gas. -Esa Tikkannen, 1979

*************************************************************************************

©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

Read Full Post »

Has Leap Day William visited you yet this February 29th?

I wasn’t sure if he knew what time my workplace closed so donned a blue coat, bought a blue plastic fedora, added a jaunty yellow paper band to it, and spent the afternoon at various locations handing out candy. Yes, I assumed the role of Leap Day William for a time, and one person knew who I was, so it was a success.

“Who is Leap Day William?” you ask. Groundhog Day has… a groundhog. And Bill Murray. The Fourth of July has Uncle Sam. There’s the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Great Pumpkin, and a host of mythological (?) characters that show up throughout the year. While you might not have been raised with the idea of a sharply dressed man in blue and yellow popping up on February 29th, there is also a Leap Day William.

William’s origins are explained in this Atlas Obscura piece, ’30 Rock’ Co-Creator Tells The Story Behind Leap Day William. 30 Rock was a TV show that ran on NBC for about seven years and William made his debut on that. Fun fact: he lives in the Mariana Trench and only comes out on Leap Day.

For the uninitiated—someone who is not a 30 Rock superfan—Leap Day William is the keystone of a leap year tradition, where you wear blue and yellow; you stand around and pretend to cry so Leap Day William showers you with sweets (“He emerges every four years to trade children’s tears for candy”); if you see someone not wearing yellow and blue, you are entitled to shout, “Poke your eyes, pull your hair, you forgot what clothes to wear,” and poke and pull.

To some Leap Day is a magical day, an extra day, on which you can do daring and glorious things. To others it means doing whatever you want because your actions don’t count. I was also informed that women can propose to men on this day (which led to interesting discussions about a movie I haven’t seen, curiosity about which women would actually do it, and a group text gone hilariously wrong).

For me, today was about blowing off the stressful, annoying, and distracting things that try to muddy our workday and trying to bring a ray of blue and yellow sunshine into the daily grind. Whether it scared children, infringed on some NBC trademark, or began an annual– well, every four year– tradition, it was good to be counterfeit Leap Year William for a time. For some it’s been so long since the Easter Bunny or Publisher’s Clearinghouse visited that perhaps it added a touch of childlike wonder to their day.

Or now they need therapy. But at least they have candy.

P.S. If someone finds the yellow paper hat band I MacGyvered together at lunch with scrap paper, a Leatherman tool, and adhesive material from a book of stamps, no, it’s not a failed attempt at a Mobius strip. I actually know how to make those.

*************************************************************************************

©2016 H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com. All articles/posts on this blog are copyrighted original material that may not be reproduced in part or whole in any electronic or printed medium without prior permission from H. Hiatt/wildninjablog.com.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: