Daily Archives: February 23, 2007

Bad Mamas Rule! Britney and Anna

Bald Britney bashing a car with an umbrella. Pregnant Anna Nicole with face paint. Frightening images, yes, but very punk rock too. Our culture created these women, held them up as idols because of their facility with peroxide and silicone and cameras, and now we’re tearing them down. It’s sad to watch. And yet I feel these extreme gestures of theirs are the screams of objects trapped, of pregnant and postpartum women with hormones raging and society crashing down on their ill-prepared psyches. Goddess knows I’ve never had much use for Britney, but maybe this is precisely when rad women should be reaching out to her: She’s revolting, yes, but in revolt perhaps as well. Swing that ‘brella grrrl, you go!

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Love Is a Mix-Tape

I just finished reading Rob Sheffield’s Love Is a Mix-Tape, the Rolling Stone critic’s memoir about his love affair with rock crit Renee Crist, who died suddenly of a cerebral hemorrhage just a few years into their young marriage. It’s a very sad, well-written story, told through a unique, somewhat gimmicky literary device: each chapter starts with the song list of a mix-tape Rob or Renee made.

I’ve only met Rob once, I think, but I’ve always related to his taste and admired his writing, which I don’t always do with my peers. I didn’t know Renee either, though I loved her L7 Spin story back in the day. Reading Rob’s book, I wish I had known them both — and feel like I do.

Rob has tremendous insights about music, like the one about Biggie Smalls’ music being about being a husband. I did find Rob’s tendency to see everything through a musical spectrum irritating at points — classic rockcrit nerdboy character flaw. Maybe what was on the radio on the way home from Renee’s funeral isn’t so important.

But I recommend Love Is a Mix-Tape. I found it interesting that Rob rhapsodizes about the ’90s as a vibrant period for music and politics, particularly for women, since I do the same in Mamarama. Clinton era nostalgia, here we come!

I didn’t read the memoir without a tinge of irony, and jealousy, though. In the middle of that supposedly vibrant period, women writers like myself and, I believe, Renee, were explicitly blacklisted by Spin publisher Bob Guccione for saying those kinds of things. Rob didn’t suffer from that blacklist, has built a solid and deserved career, and can get a job at that bastion of sexism Stone, and a cushy book deal, and pretend that blacklist never happened. We’ll never know if Renee would have succeeded likewise, sadly.

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