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Maybe, just maybe, The People of Walmart has something to teach us?

Scene 1:

There is this new website, People of Walmart, that’s gaining the buzz.  (Heck, even The Bloggess mentioned them as “shit-I-didn’t-write-but-wish-I-did-because-it’s-kind-of-awesome” for this week…)

(Note: also wrote about it on August 31, 2009, the day after this post was originally published.)

Here is one of the most excellent specimen, in all its glory:

(Do check out the guy’s YouTube site as advertised on the back of his jacket…  Did I? Of course!)

Like a guilty pleasure and inexplicable obsession, I gawk at the pictures on a daily basis ever since I was alerted to its existence, shaking my head, unable to avert my eyes away from the grotesque.  The proverbial Train Wreck, and I am one of the Rubber-neckers.

I tweeted.  Sent the link to everybody I know.  “Hilarious. You’ve got to see this!”

Scene 2:

Last week brought this to our attention:

Glamour Shocks Readers By Featuring Plus-Size Model’s Belly

Lizzie Miller by all means is a gorgeous woman. We all agreed. The reaction from female readers to Glamour’s featuring her, tummy and thighs and all, is spetacular yet not surprising.

I want to believe with all my heart that this picture is going to stop myself from agonizing over my body image, to convince myself that what I see in the mirror is good enough – I am not greedy.  I don’t ask for “gorgeous”.  I am only asking for “confident”.  But despite being a gullible person when it comes to panhadlers, I, decidedly, unconsciously, took a cynical stance towards this whole “Rah Rah Big is Beautiful” self-congratulatory outbreak of celebrations in the cyber space.

And as usual, I feel guilty because I desperately want to do the right thing.

Scene 3:

I came upon this blog post by chance:

News Flash! Average is Beautiful. Then Why Am I Having a Fat Day?

“Jane” eloquently put in words what I could not have expressed.  The witty title alone summed it up.  Here is the part that resonated with me, hitting me like a bucket of cold water and an injection of warm vodka at the same time:

So I sit here. Feeling fat. And all this media coverage saying size 12 is beautiful hasn’t made me feel much better at all.

Although many would consider my self-critique of being overweight as insincere whining, “Is she backdoor-bragging? That bitch!”  Let’s face it, I am Asian, and if I am not willowy, I am considered fat. Also, I am just better at hiding the extra pounds:

Control-top panty hose, body shapers, smoothers, I have come to accept this, are my friends.

But are they really?

We have come a long way since the Corset scene in Gone with the Wind, or have we?

*See “Hattie McDaniel: What We Don’t Know About Mammy” for a re-reading of the Mammy character if this picture unsettles you, still, after you have seen it so many times…

Scene 4:

Back to People of Walmart, and this time, we encounter ““…

Part of me naturally gawked and tzzked at the unsightly middle bulge, the Muffin Top of all Muffin Tops, wondering why anybody in their right mind would let it all hang out like this.

“OMG, does she really think that is attractive?”

Part of me though wanted to say, sincerely,

“I salute you.  I admire you for the courage that I do not possess.  You go girl! Be yourself! Say No to corset! And wear whatever the fuck your heart desires!”

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Do you know who started the famous Bobbed haircut?

Louise Brooks, aka Frank Wedekind’s “Lulu”, 1929.

Nobody, I mean, nobody, does it better…

I have had the same postcard on my bookshelf since college.  I included it as one of the images for a self-portrait collage that I put together…  Now come to think of it, I started having identity crisis since that age and I haven’t been quite able to find myself ever since.  Kind of pathetic if I dare to be honest: A 40-year-old woman suffering from teenage angst.


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Marlene Dietrich & Anna May Wong in “Shanghai Express”

So now I am completely obsessed with Anna May Wong. I wanted to find and read everything about her… then I found this:

Shanghai Express

This is fucking Marlene Dietrich we are talking about here…  Marlene Dietrich looks like this:

(Ignore the cigarettes. They didn’t know better back then…)

Yeah.  I get the irony about me posting photographic evidence of objectification of these two gorgeous women after I posted We will not become what we mean to you.   I have the luxury of a revisionist perspective, looking back at these women and what they have done in portraying strong, powerful women, albeit always thwarted by the end of the film.

On the other hand, now this conviction, and personal, secret mantra, “We will not become what we mean to you”, just became even more powerful for me.  The paradox of the subjectification of the unavoidable objectification perchance will remove us from this endless loop, a discourse that goes nowhere.

I am spewing nonsense now.  This shit is complicated.  No wonder people avoid the discussion of gender and racial politics like the plague.

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“We will not become what we mean to you”

"We will not become what we mean to you"

This is yet another picture I took of the art works that resonated with me when we went through the new Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago.

“We will not become what we mean to you.”

I think about that sentence often ever since…

“I’m interested in how identities are constructed, how stereotypes are formed, how narratives sort of congeal and become history.” This is how the artist, Barbara Kruger, explained the thoughts behind her creation.

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Anna May Wong in “Daughter of the Dragon”

3867862946 06874a368f Anna May Wong in Daughter of the Dragon

Anna May Wong in “Daughter of the Dragon”, originally uploaded by The Absence of Alternatives.

There is so much theorizing and critique one can do based on this one image, I don’t even know where to start…

Or, if you don’t mind, I find it hilarious.  Is it a sign that we have come a long way now that we can feel confident enough to make fun of it?

This photo is found on

I am facinated by pictures of , especially these other photos from Daughter of the Dragon:

She was a third-generation Chinese American.

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Valiant Struggle No. 11

Valiant Struggle No 11

Valiant Struggle No 11

Valiant Struggle No 11, originally uploaded by The Absence of Alternatives.

This piece is part of the Public Art exhibit in Chicago: “A Conversation with Chicago: Contemporary Sculptures from China“.

Valiant Struggle No. 11 by Chen Wenlin

I like “Protest Art”, or art with a message, as much as the next socially conscious and politically aware person. But can we say “Didactic”, let’s just call a spade a spade, eh?

Chen’s other sculptures, including the original piece with the same name, do not seem as “hitting you on the head with a giant hammer”…  Perhaps the choice of red and gold was pushing it a bit too over the top?…

p.s. Is it just me? I had no desire whatsoever to get my own pictures taken with this sculpture. It would be like having your picture taken with a lecture that’s written with you in mind…  Am I the only one that is reading the irony in this situation?

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Desperate Housewives: The Disney Princess Version

3865887976 3445d470f9 Desperate Housewives: The Disney Princess Version

Desperate Housewives: The Disney Princess Version, originally uploaded by The Absence of Alternatives.

This is one of my favorite cartoons from the Sundays.

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Is it me or are the password requirements getting out of hand?

3865054481 e942a842c8 Is it me or are the password requirements getting out of hand?

I speak Dilbert, originally uploaded by The Absence of Alternatives.

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The Bullshit Generator

3865840184 2960f14ddc The Bullshit Generator
Be like Wally.  The BullShit Generator here.
Here are 3 samples:
maximize dynamic architectures
evolve compelling functionalities
transition sticky solutions
I speak Dilbert, originally uploaded by The Absence of Alternatives.
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“Dogbert the Green Consultant”

3865054147 7da609c8cd Dogbert the Green Consultant

I speak Dilbert, originally uploaded by The Absence of Alternatives.

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