7 Magazine-type blogs: Culture-curation’s really where it’s at now, I guess?

1.  Flavorwire  – “Cultural news and critique

I like the relationship between this cultural news magazine, and Flavorpill, which is their web app to “find events in your city”.

A well thought-out experience, of learning about, finding and going to interesting things.

In fact, I would probably measure the success of a “culture news” website by the number of individual articles I feel like spontaneously opening, plus the number of outgoing links that I also open.

In that case –

Articles:  4

10 Criminally Underrated 90’s songs

Video of the day: If Pinterest were Invented in the 90’s

What’s On at Flavorpill: The Links that Made the Rounds in Our Office

Glowing Night Photos of Urban Grocers

Clicked external links: 4

Jawbreaker Shot Glass

and, from probably one of the most addictingly viral “pop culture news” magazine sites – Buzzfeed:

The Top 10 Most Legally and Illegally Downloaded TV Shows

14 Trends from Coachella 2012 You’ll Probably See More of This Summer

13 Untapped 90’s Fashion Trends

2.  Domus I love this magazine/site.  It looks just immersing and beautiful, and the features are good slices of the art and design world.

3.  Kempt

I like this.  In comparison to hearty (#6 in this list), this is more like what I’m talking about.

Distinct voice, even if isn’t exactly for me.

Feels crowded, but the content seems well-written enough – fresh takes on even “normal”-seeming things.

4. The SuperSlice

Slick and snazzy.

Altogether glossy branding and design.  With the slim category colors and clean serif title fonts.

5.  Social Design Zine

In Italian and English, I think one of the more high-brow and intellectual among this bunch, with reviews of design books and analyses of logos.

6.  hearty magazine

Love their logo, and the look of their header.

Unfortunately, I don’t fully know what to make of the magazine’s “voice”.

Not as youthfully luxurious and fashionably brash as Nylon, but also not as insightful a cultural lens as Thought Catalog.

For me it’s like the “Cosmopolitan” magazine of the web: it’s a bit too full of fluff, I’d rather read a men’s magazine.

7.  The DEFGRIP blog.

Bike culture and art.

I love that it has such a clean and crisp aesthetic for a BMX culture magazine.

Diversity is so beautiful.

Kitty Pryde: This makes sense.

This is Kitty Pryde.

You are going to want to, at least, know about her.

Why?

Because if you want to intellectualize about the state of music and the “blurring of boundaries”, she is a great example to name-drop.

Kitty Pryde has been talked about on ComplexVulture, Fader, Vice, HypeTrak, Idolator, PopDust and other culture blogs.

Even the New York Times has talked about her.

She is, as Fader describes, “the internet’s preeminent coy white girl rapper”, and her video “Okay Cupid” has been making the rounds.

Now, I’m sure her music will get A LOT of flack.

Because, damn it, when I was watching the first 20 seconds, all I was thinking was “whaaaaaaaaat.”

In fact, I’m impressed that the blogs picked this up pretty quickly.  Her main Okay Cupid youtube video only has 85, 475 views, which kind of suggests this topic is at its infancy.  Of the 1,429 people who actually cared to click a button on what they felt about this, 38% clicked the thumbs-down one.

And, she gets comments like:

“what the fuck is this shit”

“omg please stop singing”

and “She’s 17 writing the lyrics of a fucking 14 year old girl trying too hard.”

and, one of my favorites: “its like rebecca black all over again :/ with more.. words.. ”

along with: “i give up on life”

From HypeTrak, there’s also: “Really Hypetrak? so many trill nigggas doin they thing and this is what you post? smh….RIP HT”

So what’s there to like?

I actually don’t enjoy her Okay Cupid song as much as her Justin Bieber song.  Which is actually a response to his cult of fans and the baby-daddy incident.  Listen to it.

But, as usual, I love her in a “meta” way.

What do I mean?

I mean: I love what she represents.

For one, I love the whole “package”, the whole “non-marketing marketing*” approach.

(*Yes, like “no makeup makeup”).

I love that her EP is entitled “The Lizzie McGuire Experience”.

I love that her Bandcamp page has close-up, self-taken pictures of her face with black mascara trails streaming from her eyelashes and showing off her inner lip tattoo.

She is authentic.

Or, at the very least, feigns authenticity.  The kind of current “real-ness” that proper adults and “good values” see as icky.

But, she does precisely what teenagers on tumblr do.

This is the best example to support how one teenage girl (who I interviewed last year) explained her liking Miley Cyrus, as a personality, over Taylor Swift.

Because, she said, Taylor Swift is “less real”.

Her songs are all about love and liking the boy who doesn’t like you back; she beams heart-shapes into the world, which might be relatable for her 12-year old fangirls.

On the other hand, you have Miley Cyrus, who is out there making mistakes, trashing her own name, trying to break out of the mold her parents brought her up in.

Which sounds much more like a 17-year old.

And, I think authenticity especially matters when making music.

In my opinion, successful music is authentic.

Meaning it represents something true about a culture, an image or an experience.
It’s why, for me, although many great songs have universal appeal, the way they sound and the way they’re made is culturally specific.
We tend to laugh at people who just mimic or copy musical styles. But, as it has often been said, good artists steal and we now have a culture where “everything is a remix“.
What gives away that something is just a copy is when it isn’t owned.  South Korea creates successful pop songs, because they embraced it.  They got Western ingredients and made it their own.  They practiced it from childhood and honed their pop sensibilities.

Try to listen to popular songs about the social condition from the 70’s, and from the present decade.

Popular music about society’s ills in the 60’s or 70’s were either folksy, rock or reggae. Sardonic, weary or lashing out.
Now, you have the addition of hip-hop.  Which, I think, also represents society’s ills, like poverty, and violence.
But it has swagger, a gritty machismo not present in the aggression of the 70’s.  A swagger that developed from the earlier years of blues, which was also a form of dealing with slavery and sorrow.
How does this relate to Kitty Pryde?

Because if Kitty Pryde made music any other way, it wouldn’t have made sense.

She can’t rap like Nicki Minaj because she doesn’t talk like Nicki Minaj or live like Nicki Minaj.
It was a lot more valid for Eminem to rap the way he did because he lived in the same kind of anger and survivalist aggression.
It’s probably like how it’s annoying to hear non-American musicians, who try to sound American when they rap, when you know they didn’t grow up talking that way.
It’s just fake.
Kitty Pryde’s songs are about her crush and social media culture, and she ‘raps’ the way she talks because that’s how it makes sense to express herself.
Not everyone’s a songstress, you know.
There have been weirder things — like Miranda July’s spoken-word songs, yet those are considered art.  More on music appreciation in a future post. (Seriously.  If you think Kitty Pryde was weird, you should listen to these.  I almost find them disturbing.)
[Watch video at your own risk.  I tend to get traumatized.]

I guess I’m just not a “hater” when it comes to people who write their own music. I may not always like the songs, but I respect the difficulty in creating them.

Lastly, I like that they actually can’t pigeonhole her.

I think that if they stopped calling her a rapper there’d be much less negativity surrounding her video.

What this means for culture is that her music can’t really be defined as…anything, which is going to be a good description for the media genres of tomorrow.  Hip-hop and rock have crossed over for a while, and I’m pretty sure I recently read an article on the alternative sound of today’s R&B. Or was it the other way around.

This kid sounds like a teenager talking on the phone crossed with a Garage Band track from someone’s basement crossed with frozen yogurt.

I don’t even know what genre you’re supposed to call that.  And that’s why I think she signifies the start of something interesting.  Because this’ll open up doors for girls who just want to sound like they’re talking on the phone, and want to express themselves, but feel pressured by Taylor Swift and Jessica Sanchez.

Link to her tumblr account: kittydothedishes

Random “Top Links” link from Complex: 15 Sexy GIFs of Celebrities Dancing

[PG-13: Sensitive Content] “Slutwalks” and Kate Upton’s Cat Daddy: Hot and Bothersome

This video (of teen angelface sexpot Kate Upton dancing in a bikini) has been making the rounds (TMZ featured this Youtube video: 1.4M hits in two days.)

It makes many thoughts rush through my mind:
As adequately put by a colleague: “Dayummmmmmmmm, son.”
“Of course.   This is by Terry Richardson.  Such a sick freak. Who else would have thought of this sleaziness.” (At this point, I was still confusing him with Dov Chearney, American Apparel CEO. Yes, many moustached plaid-clad successful sick freaks in the world.)
“I can’t believe she’s… Well, I guess this is part of how she markets herself.”
“Wow, the thought that she’s doing this is making me wonder whether this is brilliant or sad.”
“Well, she’s the one putting herself in this position.”
Seriously, my thoughts are in a tizzy because of this hot dancing Lolita.
Because, see, I can just see and understand so many perspectives regarding this video.

The most umm…base and guttural perspective, which is: This. Video. Is. Hot.

I’m not going to deny it.  This girl has a smashing body.  Yes, I am going to get this…low and sleazy.
Objectively speaking, she has just…if I start describing it, it’ll sound like erotica, but I really don’t mean it to.  She’s well-endowed, slim, tall, smooth and has this youthfulMarilyn-Monroe-doe-eyes-and-full-lips-with-coy-mole face, and “blondes have more fun” hair.
And, she’s well… we all know what those dance moves look like.
And if we all thought that her video (featured in an earlier post) manufactured-ly casually dancing IN CLOTHES was hot —  this is her manufactured-ly raunchily dancing 98% NAKED.
Really.  Really?!? You really had to up the ante, Kate?  The first video wasn’t hot enough?

Second perspective: What kind of sick freak are you, Terry Richardson, to come up with this exploitative shit?

She’s only 19.

Ah, Terry Richardson, infamously sleazy photographer.
It, apparently, wasn’t enough to be served a sexual harassment complaint.  At least he’s…err…sharing the love.

Third response:  But, see, you can’t fully blame Richardson because, damn it, Upton, you signed up for this.

Then, it gets complicated.  Because the video is obviously consensual.  It’s not like she was drugged or unaware.
See!
This is quickly followed by:

My 4th response: Guilt.  Why am I being a part of the objectification of women?

I am fully aware myself, that by screencap-ping, blogging about this, sharing the video on facebook, the very act of ogling this woman is actually part of this whole cultural movement that sexualizes the female image.

But then, she puts herself out there.

No, this isn’t like when misguided people say women get raped because they wear short skirts, because they’re “asking for it”.
Rape is an act of power and violence, and isn’t related to whatever clothes a woman is actually wearing during the assault.
I am merely saying that this is a conscious decision to brand herself in a certain way.  Which can both be labelled as brilliant or sad.
Why?

My sissy way out: I blame culture.

I can’t turn my nose up or wag my finger at Kate Upton, and reprimand her for her objectification of her self.
Because, really, how different is this video from Spring Break and The Grind videos on MTV in the 90’s? (Yes, for some reason, these were the first things I compared the video to. I do not know why my brain made that connection.)
I can’t be mad that she’s 19, because many young girls in the media do this – Ke$ha is around the same age and sexualizes herself.
And why stop there?  From there you can look at the whole popularized-by-sex-videos set, like Paris Hilton, Kim Kardashian and Pamela Anderson (or Tommy Lee).  You can look at the whole porn industry even.  The Victoria’s Secret angels.
It’s all part of the branding machine, all part of a desire for stardom.  Having a hot body doing hot things is a sure meal ticket to get you places.   Kate can’t be blamed for having a face that pretty and a…set…that nice.  She just…chooses to use it to the…best of its abilities.
And, me, I like assessing culture.
In the nature versus nurture debate, I tend to think that we can’t deny that we have needs, some not necessarily noble and quite selfish – a need to be wanted, to be validated, to feel pride.  And the way that you choose to fulfill these is largely affected by the environment you’re in.
And, well, current society says this thing, that Kate Upton’s doing, is okay.

Kate Upton was born in 1992.

She grew up in the era of 15-minute celebrity – of Big Brother, and the dawn of lonelygirl15 (link for those who may not have been around at this time).
It was never really wrong to be recognized for “who you are”.  That’s what we tell kids.  And that’s what she’s doing.  Getting attention for her God-given gifts.
So, world, I don’t even know.  Those are all my thoughts about this.

Postscript:  In related news, this tab has been open in my browser since late last year:

Will SlutWalks change the meaning of the word “slut”?

“Which leads us to an important point: Is there such a thing as a perfect movement? Is there a right way to protest? Even the angriest critics can’t deny the galvanizing effect the movement has had. Clearly SlutWalks have struck a chord. “

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2088234,00.html#ixzz1tMWNjd93 (Smart move by NYTimes.com – automating a “read more” link when copying text)

First, the facts.

The protest walk was first organized by Heather Jarvis and Sonya Barnett, as a response to Toronto constable Michael Sanguinetti’s comment (to students) that “women should stop dressing like sluts” so that they/we would not be victimized by rape.

All the opinions and controversy surrounding these walks make me love democracy, social media, freedom of speech and all the things that enable all of the differing views.

Because, like the Kate Upton video, it stirred up debate and emotion.

Some didn’t approve of the use of the word “slut”, feeling that it further contributed to the misinterpretation of women’s sexuality.  Others criticized those critics wondering whether you could actually criticize the “correctness” of a protest.

Layer upon layer.

Meta-reactions.

Welcome to the 21st century.

Jaffa Cakes lickable wallpaper and 8 news and trend-hunt blogs that featured it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

via Think.BigChief‘s facebook feed.

I like the different angles that the different sites used, in talking about this really odd (successfully viral) promotional idea from Jaffa Cakes – “Spot of Jaffa”.

Putting a lick-friendly surface in a public space.

 

Geekologie‘s emphasis on the weirdly unhygienic nature of the idea – Spreading Disease: Cookie-Flavored Lickable Wallpaper

Trendhunter‘s slightly nostalgic description, focusing on the Willy Wonka inspiration – Lusk Lick-able Murals

Fairly objective, “corporate goal” slant from Design TaxiWorld’s First ‘Lickable’ Elevator

Focus on consumer and media reaction, from The DrumMcVitie’s set toungues wagging with lickable lift

Casual take on how the office-workers in that building might feel from Foodbeast – The World’s First Lickable Elevator, Wallpaper That Tastes Like Cake

Pretty funny personal comments (on how all things are lickable anyway, and how she’d probably try it because she’s nasty 🙂 ) from Incredible Things contributor, Brittany High – World’s First Lick-able Wallpaper 

Straightforward article with how many Jaffa Cakes, building name and Jaffa’s creative spark from The SunOffice workers set to get a lift from Jaffa cake elevator

Also featured by agencycreative tumblr blog, with interesting stats on how long it took to create the wallpaper and the estimated number of employees: The lickable life