aug 05



9 Songs is a movie about how a girl can be slow-witted, charmless, and not particularly good looking, and still find a guy fall to “in love” with her. But as 95% of the film shows these two characters mid-coitus; it’s unsurprising so much of its audience seemes to have missed that bit of the storyline.

Yes, following in the footsteps of In the Realm of the Senses and Last Tango in Paris, a new softcore porn is fogging up art house windows. This one has actors engaging in real sex making it, umm, actual porn. Director Michael Winterbottom cavalierly dismisses claims that it’s just sexist smut:

People always ask me about Kieran O’Brien and Margo Stilley and say that the film must have been fun for the man and a nightmare for the woman. I think it’s interesting that they would divide it along gender lines like that and infer that the sex scenes could not have been a good experience for Margo. I think it was hard work for everyone involved.

Let me count the ways this hard work didn’t pay off:

1. Well, Mr. Winterbottom, we do know it wasn’t a “good experience for Margo” because she has told the press, “It was not a sexual experience. The entire film was not a sexual experience for me, in terms of emotions or being aroused.” Your ejaculation footage only suggests the opposite was true of O’Brien.

2. The stud/slut double standard is alive and well with news that O’Brien has moved on to a starring role in Winterbottom’s next film, while Stilley has recently been spotted wiping down pub tables.

3. Thirty year old men with 20 year old girlfriends – that they “love” – are few and far between. Plenty of 30 year old men that have sex with 20 year olds and don’t call them the next day, and plenty of 30 year olds have age appropriate girlfriends; so let’s be honest here: a 20 year old was cast because no one even slightly older would do it

4. And, age notwithstanding, this particular 20 year old is not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

5. Sting, one would suppose, is the archetype and Chris Martin perfected it; but this fella right here is the worst example yet of a Limey metrosexual throwback to Haight Ashbury sensitive ponytail man. (You know he’s going to take his kit off in every film after this)

6. It’s a tiny bit facetious to say this film celebrates monogamy if O’Brien was in a commited relationship at the time of filming.

7. Which is to say that yes, these actors are real people with years of explaining to do to the people that ever get close to them. It’s a little near-sighted to believe, especially for Stilley, that future partners can dismiss the film as a one-off thing

8. Running time: “69 Minutes”

9. Who does it to the Von Bondies?

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Courtney Knapp has a fresh perspective on worldwide decline in the age of menarche:

While few would argue that a pregnant twelve year-old is a positive change, that girls are healthy enough to be biologically capable of carrying a child is an improvement.

Knapp points out other possible causes – “natural selection (genetic isolates), less disease, fat kids obesity (since the onset of menarche has a correlation with the body fat percentage), chemicals which mimic sex hormones (DDE, PCBs and phthalates), and hormones in meat and dairy products” – but the examples given in the article she cites suggest nutrition’s positive impact.


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You know, in “my day” it didn’t matter if you were affixing an ant-trail border to a spaceship icon for the room poster you were making on your Apple II printshop program; it was educational, no questions asked. But now the kids with their livejournals and their videogames… Understanding this, last week sponsored PC Turnoff Week; but other educators argue the event might have been better suited for users of those static Apple IIs; because nowadays technology extends outside the veritable box:

Don Knezek, director of the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), warned against taking a “televisionist” view of current technology and the role it plays in the lives of young people.


“You need to examine the & assumption of the computer as the old box that sits still,” Knezek said. “In fact, young students today are using technology in a number of mobile ways.”

Both sides raise interesting points; and create a broader debate of what we can view as a benchmark of Internet-overload. Certainly, wasting your childhood away at the console is no better than sitting straight through the primetime sitcoms. But then again, hasn’t AIM-ing surpassed sweater girl telephone conversations in the 50’s in terms of social connectivity? We can walk and talk (on the phone;) and walk and write (spelling and grammer, notwithstanding.)


But there’s something to be said about a culture that thrives on the alt-tab command. I wonder if the ADD-ization effect that has been more plainly stated elsewhere will send some educators back to television – Chanel 1-style programming– for interactive learning

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Winning the RSA Design Direction Award, Scottish artist Douglas Maitland has designed “The Praystation”, a sort of port-a-potty sanctuary imagined for urban apostles in the year of 2018.


The Praystation concept suggests a sound-proof cubicle opened by wearing an ‘iCross’ necklace, which stores information on the user’s soul, recording emotions, problems and health, interactions and movements. These are uploaded to a virtual ‘e-priest’, who advises and downloads absolution and forgiveness from the Praystation.

Although certainly tounge-in-cheek, Maitland’s design is a thoughtful consideration of how the church might embrace certain technologies.


And one can imagine with the ongoing suburbanization of the planet; such a space might be a welcome reprieve for even the staunchest unbeliever, who simply wants a moment away from the noise and crowd outside. Just out of curiousity, can anyone name a work about someone without personal belief, who goes through the rituals of religion exclusively for its theraputic and social value?

(via we make money not art)

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 1 Comment »

  1. Not sure if this would qualify as a religious ritual but ritual as therapy, definitely yes: John Bidlake in Point Counter Point. Huxley’s description of Bidlake’s personal “religion” (ie superstitions and rituals) was memorable.
  2. I remember watching the college world series a couple of years ago and being fascinated by the rituals of the players and parents. They’d touch their hat three times and then their necklace. Or repeat a certain phrase or wear their hat a certain way.
  3. Now I remember, one of Bidlake’s rituals was to run his finger along a piece of wood. For some reason that gave him comfort.
  4. Comment by Jason — 8/23/2005 @ 2:29 pm | Edit This

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