Tag Archives: humour

The Blind Leading The Blind: A Sticky Swiftuation

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WORDS M.K Smith

I’m a guy and a huge Taylor Swift fan. Is there something wrong with me?

Part Swedish milkmaid, part overgrown 14-year-old girl and part insane person, Taylor Swift is a complex entity.
She captures the exquisite heartbreak of adolescence like a lightning bug in a jar. She wears sparkly dresses with cowboy boots. She won’t shut up about her ex-boyfriends. She’s happy, free, confused and lonely at the same time. She is also very, very popular.

She is popular because a lot of people like her music, and for the most part, these people are of the female persuasion. According to your query, you are not.

I’m not going to take the very tempting bait and say that liking Taylor Swift in the first place is your problem*, because I’ve taken two gender studies units and I want to break some shit down right now.

Can you think of any perpetual-man child musicians that are marketed solely to boys? Nope, because there isn’t one. Girly stuff, like your girl Taylor Swift, is meant to elicit a resounding “yuck” from the fellas because so many girl-centric icons are pegged as lame, insignificant and embarrassing.

It’s not fair that matters of personal taste are derided just because girls’ interests are deemed less socially acceptable. Just like what you want to like, because your iTunes doesn’t know what you’re packing in your underpants. People probably don’t even care that you’re a Swiftie, and you can just use it as a quirky addition to your pulling arsenal anyway.

Do you know how many young ladies would appreciate a boyfriend that can empathise with Abigail and root for the bleacher-bound girl who wears t-shirts? You should be able to listen a twee, yodelling, ash-blonde nymph if you want to without worrying about being emasculated or God forbid, seen as more feminine.

It seems to me that the person that has the biggest problem with a man liking Taylor Swift is, in fact, you. Grow a pair (of ovaries) and be confident in your taste. Taylor would probably want it that way.

* If this was a tween girl’s Tumblr, I’d be best described as a ‘Taylor hater’. Team Kanye forever.

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The Blind Leading the Blind: Mean Boys

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WORDS M.K Smith

 I’m not sure if my boyfriend is treating me the way a girlfriend should be treated. We’ve been fairly happy together for a year but he’ll occasionally talk down to me or just plain insult me and claim “it was just a joke!” I always feel like I need to prove myself to him. I’m not sure he knows that he is doing it though and I don’t want to jeopardise anything because I really love him. What should I do?

Your boyfriend sounds like a garden variety, grade-A douchecanoe and I’m inclined to tell you to dump that crusty arsehole. Being in a caring relationship means there has to be a sense of equality and consideration. If there isn’t, then you’re just engaging in passive aggressive monogamy when, alternatively, you could be bumping uglies with someone who doesn’t make you feel like you have to make an effort to feel cared about. You know you’re with the ‘right’ person when you don’t have to waste any energy trying to convince them that you’re lovable.

There is always the chance that you could, you know, talk to him seriously and tell him to quit being such an abrasive dickwad. But I have a feeling that it’s probably best to rip off the proverbial band aid and end it; cry for a week into some frozen yoghurt/red velvet cupcakes/someone else’s groin, and step away from the unappreciative boyfriend. Let it go, life is much too short to be with someone who is not only mean, but thoroughly unfunny.

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Don’t be a Halloweiner: The Costume Edition

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WORDS M.K Smith

That special, most spiritual time of year is back again. Halloween is here, so don a rudimentary costume, buy some plastic skulls from The Reject Shop and get ready to have some drunken fun. But, and there is always a but, make sure you’re doing Halloween the right way. Heed my advice, and have the best end of October ever.

Watch out for cultural appropriation.

“Mexican person” is not a costume. “Native American” is not a costume. “Muslim” is not a costume. These are all outfits I saw at the same party last year, and each one has consequences.

Throwing some stereotypes together and slapping on a traditional headpiece of some kind is not clever or subversive, it’s cultural appropriation and it’s not all right. Cast your memory all the way back to last week when an Australian woman (of COURSE she was Australian) got in trouble for having an African themed party. Everybody in attendance sloppily applied what appeared to be shoe polish to their skin and played up the tribal history of Africa. Sounds harmless, right? Except for the fact that Africa is an entire continent with a myriad of different countries and cultures, both cosmopolitan and customary. Cultures are multifaceted entities, so when socially privileged white kids decide that they’ll dress up as something, like, totally wild and hilarious, why do they choose “costumes” from societies that are usually downtrodden or discriminated against?

Halloween is one of the only glorious days of the year that you get to dress up as something completely out of character. So when white dudes think “how WEIRD and FUNNY would it be if I dressed up like a Muslim and tied a tea towel around my head?!” they’re basically saying, “being a Muslim is WEIRD and FUNNY! It’s hilarious to dress like one, because I’m totally not one!” You’re lampooning people that don’t have as much social esteem as you do. While the xenophobia and discrimination in this country doesn’t rest on your shoulders alone, there’s no need to propagate inequity through an ill-conceived, jokey outfit.

If you’re shaking your head at my argument right now, then I strongly encourage you to read this article. There is so much more to cultural appropriation than the PC police breaking down your door and stealing your cool costume ideas away from you.

“Sluts”*

In segue news; let’s talk about “slutty” costumes. There is a quote from Mean Girls which is so obvious, so eternally relevant, that I don’t even know why I’m typing it out.

“Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it”.

Apt. Well, except for the fact that girls (and some boys) do judge the sexed up party patrons. I know this, because I used to do it.
“For real?” I’d say, “You two are going to a party as a Sexy Mario and a Sexy Luigi? In what universe do two people decide that they want to go as digitized, mustachioed plumbers? As digitized, mustachioed plumbers with their boobs out?”

I know now that people should feel free to dress however sexually they want on Halloween. If that’s the only day that you can express yourself and feel confident in showing off your body, then go for it. Just make sure you’re doing it for yourself. Dress like a sexy old piece of floss if you feel the need, but do it because you think it looks banging, not because everybody else is  going for the boobs angle.

I don’t like to dress in “sexy” Halloween costumes because it feels so expected, like a tradition so weirdly internalized we’re not even sure why we’re doing it, except for the fact that we get to look unapologetically sexualized. I dressed as a scantily clad black cat for Halloween when I was 16 because I wanted to feel like a grown up. Instead of feeling mature, I just felt uncomfortable in my tight clothes. Also I don’t think a “sexy cat” would just wear a black singlet, three pairs of stockings, ears, face paint and have no fur. Then again, I don’t actually know what a “sexy cat” would look like, it’s probably best if we don’t find out. I haven’t worn such an exposing costume since. But if I wanted to dress sexy, I’m glad that Halloween would afford me that luxury. Don’t judge.

Why do we wait for the end of October to go as “Sexy (insert any costume)?” And why is any banal, everyday thing ripe for sexualisation?  Imagine if we dressed like a “Sexy Chess Piece” for Christmas or “Sexy Grapeshot Reader” (that’s everyone who clicked on this article, thanks guys) for New Year’s Eve. Picture a world in which any occasion could call for Halloween-like clothing:

“Hey girl, you feel like dressing up like a Sensual Enema with me?”
“Of course, what’s the occasion?”
“Friday!”
*Girls high five & car peels out*

*I don’t really like that word, just because your boobs are out on one specific night, it doesn’t mean you’re a slut*.
** Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

 

Pop culture costumes

Halloween costumes are the best part of the whole darn holiday. If you’re going down the TV/Movie/Film route, you can’t really go wrong. Here are the dos and don’ts.

  • Don’t go as Miley Cyrus/ Robin Thicke. Please. It doesn’t matter if the dude is Miley and the girl is Robin, or if it’s the two dudes/ two girls gender swap schtick. It’s not clever, and nobody needs to see that much beige latex. Speaking of the Cyrus, no more Wrecking Ball inspired outfits. It’s done. It’s over. Kaput. The only wrecking ball related imagery I need to see is this. If you have to do Miley, at least do Hannah Montana. Think of the bejeweled jeans you’ll get to wear!
  • Do go as Walter White/ Jesse/ meth if you must, but know that half the dudes at your chosen party are going to be rocking the fedora and moustache combo. A Breaking Bad costume is the new Clockwork Orange.
  • Don’t go as a ghost and just cut some holes in a sheet. Everybody knows that you’re just lazy. Commitment is EVERYTHING. If you do want to be a ghost, you should go as Patrick Swayze. This works best if you look exactly like Patrick Swayze, if not then everybody is just going to wonder why your hands are covered in clay.
  • Don’t go as Zombie Celebrity That’s Just Died. It’s tacky.
  • Most importantly, DO have fun. It’s not fun unless there are a bunch of arbitrary rules handed down to you in blog form, kay?

Enjoy your yearly dose of Americanization everyone! Don’t be a Halloweiner this time around.

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Film Review: Fast and Furious 6

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We sent two Grapeshot staff members to review Fast and Furious 6 at the IMAX theatre in Darling Harbour. Everyone is talking about the blockbuster that’s dominating cinemas right now, but is it actually any good? Toby and M.K did not agree with each other.  

M.K Smith didn’t quite enjoy it:

Is Fast and Furious 6 a film, or did I just have a two hour seizure? Either way, the franchise’s gang of ragtag criminals is back again to wreak havoc, possibly faster and more furious than ever before.

It’s unfortunate that they spent the whole budget on crashing cars into glass buildings, because Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson really could’ve benefited from t-shirts that didn’t cut off the circulation to what normal humans call ‘arms’. Scene chewing must be effective for carb-loading, because both Vin Diesel and Johnson are as muscle-laden as they are robotic. The rest of the cast doesn’t fare too well, either.

There’s some emotional stuff going on in the film, though I’m not really sure what the stuff is because I didn’t bother watching the first five films (also I spent duration of this one either counting the alarming veins on Johnson’s arms or trying to nap).

I of all people cannot claim to be a cinephile, but Fast and Furious 6 is a dumb, forgettable, money-grubbing film. To its credit, though, it doesn’t pretend to be anything but. Snobbery aside, the film isn’t completely terrible. There’s decent cinematography, good pacing and plenty of attractive people to gawk at.

If you appreciate ham-fisted acting, teeth-gratingly cheesy dialogue and casual vehicular manslaughter, go see this film. And if you’re especially concerned that this will be the last masterpiece in the series, fret not, because a seventh movie is set up quite nicely in the dying moments of this instalment.

I’m not going to watch it.

*****

Toby Hemmings loved it:

Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make us happy: a smile, a funny line, a massive fuck-off explosion. There came a point when I just switched off my critical self and allowed a huge grin to cover my face, simply because this film is so much fun.

Its predecessor Fast Five pointed this long-questioned franchise on the right path with two decisions: 1) Let’s make this less about cars and more about elaborate oceans-style heists (and just when you wonder how the story can be any more fast and furious after five installments, the answers are ‘vehicles’ that are much bigger than cars); and 2) Let’s bring in the walking growth of muscle and charisma that is Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson.

Fast and Furious 6 does not stray from these wise guidelines and also incorporates the usual rag-tag crew including Tyrese Gibson and Ludacris as the usual source of unexpected banters, Vin Diesel, the attractive women and other hangers-on. Most interestingly, it turns this motley bunch into a family, a concept that plays surprisingly well throughout the film.

It doesn’t reinvent the wheel and snobs will look down on it with utter disdain. There are multiple references to the previous storyline but it doesn’t stop you from enjoying all the action that is balls-to-the-wall awesome. The dialogue is funny and intertwined with utter car-porn. Now this is how you do a summer action blockbuster (Yeah, I’m talking to you Michael Bay).

Check your brain at the door for the added entertainment.

Fast and Furious 6 is now playing at the IMAX Theatre. Watch the trailer here.

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