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Girls, Violence and Dragon Tattoos

girl with the dragon tattoo

Like many another crime fiction junkie, I'm mildly obsessed with Steig Larsson's Millennium trilogy. I pounced on the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, when it first appeared in the States, and was rather thrilled to discover a good crime story with a startling unique and complex female character at its heart - an unfortunately rare occurrence. All too often, especially historically, women only occupy the backdrops of noir genre tales.

But beyond the story itself, the (anti-)heroine Lisbeth Salander has also seemed to find herself in the middle of a popular criticism debate about women, violence and the representation of both in art. The graphic depiction of both the violence - extremely sexual in nature - she is subject to and the violence she delivers in return has been the justification for critics to discuss whether or not her story deserves to be taken seriously or if it's nothing but salacious drama only befitting the pulp from which tradition it springs.

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The Culture of Protest

These days, people go to protests like they do concerts.

To say today’s protest culture has fallen short of its goals is polite. To call it a complete fucking failure is honest. It is not 1967, it is 2008. There’s no such thing as a future you don’t have to fight for. Time for a better weapon.

Miss Navajo

I recently came across Newspaper Rock, which blogs about Native American issues in popular culture, and last week they posted about Miss Navajo, a documentary about the real-life "beauty" pageant for Native young women.

A welcome antidote to the dominant society's soulless spectacle of the female sex object glamour girl gladiators scrutinized so brutally in the feature film Little Miss Sunshine, Miss Navajo has much to enlighten and convey to American women about self-respect, gender consciousness, honoring historical memory, and collective unity versus ruthless competition.

Of course this type of event has special significance for Navajo women, but it's not a bad point to make that other American women could benefit from such a model in their own lives.

Cory Doctorow Interview

There is a fantastic interview over at Kottke with Cory Doctorow about copyright, copying, and culture:

You know, there's no solution that arises from telling people to stop using computers in the way that computers were intended to be used. They're copying machines. So telling the audience for art, telling 70 million American file-sharers that they're all crooks, and none of them have the right to due process, none of them have the right to privacy, we need to wire-tap all of them, we need to shut down their network connections without notice in order to preserve the anti-copying business model: that's a deeply unethical position. It puts us in a world in which we are criminalizing average people for participating in their culture.

Of course, it's nothing exactly new from him, but it's well worth saying and reading again.

Why Doesn't Alt Culture Exist?

Coilhouse asks why doesn't alt culture exist?

... perhaps anachronesis is not the retardant of a burgeoning alt culture, but its catalyst. After all, every subculture has always been a mediated response to the mainstream: punk culture’s rebellion grew out of a disillusionment with the rewards promised by white-collar mobility; Rastafarianism was a subversion of the white man’s religion; both the riot grrls of the 90s and the flappers of the 20s adopted certain styles to reject - or reclaim – certain conventions of womanhood. What, then, is the mainstream culture that today’s alt puts under the microscope?

The Life and Death of Jesse James

An internet love mystery. The screenwriter of A History of Violence tells the tale of how love and deception has changed in the internet age.