a borrowed identity

Every January, Tucson hosts an International Jewish Film Festival, and I haven’t been for years because I haven’t lived here and I was never visiting in mid-January because of school schedules. So it’s been nice to be home this year. I’ve seen two films thus far and will hopefully catch another one or two. The first was called Mr. Kaplan and is pretty strange in its approach to humor, but it was cool to revisit Jewish Uruguay, since I spent a summer there doing a Hillel study abroad program.

The one I saw yesterday was called A Borrowed Identity, and it was great. It’s apparently based on a novel called Dancing Arabs, which I’ll now have to try and track down at the library. Per IMDb:

A Palestinian-Israeli boy named Eyad is sent to a prestigious boarding school in Jerusalem, where he struggles with issues of language, culture, and identity.

[That poster is stupid, because the main character is the boy in the middle, not the girl. She’s cool and all, but she’s just the girlfriend. (That’s very antifeminist of me, but really, she’s not a focalizer at all, just a character interacting with the protagonist.) And if it’s not clear, this boarding school, being prestigious and in Jerusalem and all, is a place where non-Jews are not super welcome]

You never have to say much beyond “boarding school” to get me to want to read or watch something. And add in a fish-out-of-water story with actual substance instead of some sort faux outcast (y’know, the girl who thinks she’s so humble and boring and quirky because she listens to the Smiths and needs a boy to tell her how pretty she is) setup, throw in a pointed microaggressions, and force me to perk my ears up by listening to multiple foreign languages, and you’ve got me.

You may know I wrote an article about Israel recently that spurred some….reactions. (Generally speaking, people who found out about the article via Facebook pegged me a narcissistic bitch, and people on Twitter were supportive.) So it was pretty fitting that a week after it printed, I would go see a movie that might confirm my biases against what I felt was a lot of hypocrisy on the part of Jewish Israelis or that might just make me see a kindred, bicultural spirit, or that would do something else entirely. Continue reading


mike. magic mike.

"Channing All Over Your Tatum" is when I first gained respect for Channing Tatum, because he thinks the fawning over him is hilarious, but he also basks in it at the same time.

“Channing All Over Your Tatum” is when I first gained respect for Channing Tatum, because he thinks the fawning over him is hilarious, but he also basks in it at the same time.

I saw Magic Mike: XXL yesterday, which means I’m only catching on to pop culture things a month late instead of years. I’m growing! Or I’m just funemployed and have time to do things like go to the movies.

I’ve never seen the first movie, which I know is a huge problem because sequels such as these are incredibly complex and require much background knowledge the way sequel books in YA trilogies do. So I suffered greatly, but I made it through.

I have absolutely no problem looking at attractive men, and I greatly appreciated that they were all different colors, they were none of them unintelligent, and at least some of them were legitimately talented actual dancers, so mad props. I did not realize, having never been to any sort of strip club, that so much of male stripping would just be thrusting. I mean, I guess pole dancing is incredibly phallic, so I shouldn’t have been surprised, but female strippers don’t, as far as I know, actually stick their crotches in men’s faces while dancing. They only have fake sex with fake phalluses, which is safer for them, I’m sure, and also preserves the distinction we like to have that stripping is not prostitution. These male strippers had fake sex with real women’s faces and crotches.

The joke is that movies like Magic Mike allow women to turn the tables on objectification and do so with men’s bodies. That’s true in that I don’t believe there was a heterosexual woman in that theater who did not enjoy the washboard abs frequently displayed, especially since there was every type of male aesthetic represented. Continue reading

i accidentally secretly watched the entire twilight saga

Bored, dead-looking (ha. pun kind of intended), suffering through a horrible job.

I got a DVR this summer, and I’ve been really enjoying it. Too much. It was a terrible idea to purchase. Wonderfulterrible. It sure makes for more time wasting, but also more efficient time wasting, because no commercials. Y’know.

Anyway, it also makes for noticing when embarrassing things are on television so that you can record them – you know, just in case you’re really bored. Because you don’t have enough hours of television recorded already. And that is how I ended up watching the entire Twilight saga recently.

My history with Twilight is as follows: saw the movie New Moon in theaters with my sister because she begged me and because you shouldn’t really make a new mom sad. I had never read the books or seen the first movie, but whatever. When you live in society and pay even half attention to things, you know how to participate in conversations about Twilight or To Kill a Mockingbird without having read them. A few years later, in grad school, I had to read Twilight. So I got the first two installments, albeit out of order, against my will. And I felt done. Continue reading