Teenage female personal bloggers in Norway occupy the top positions in national blog rankings. This takes girl-bloggers to a place where they have rarely, if ever, been before: a place with massive audiences and media attention that can bring about celebrity status or financial benefits. Operating within a genre of personal blogging that combines accounts of everyday life and topics related to fashion and beauty, they are commonly referred to as pink bloggers. This gendered term is widely used in the media and this article argues that it contributes to a reinforcement of a negative image of teenage female personal bloggers, who are dismissed as trivial, commercial and irresponsible. This article analyzes prevailing discursive representations of the so-called pink bloggers in the mainstream press coverage: popular but insignificant, trendsetting but irresponsible, savvy but vulnerable. The implications of these representations are discussed as well.
Longfellow and the Campaign for Poets' Corner
David Haven Blake
In 1884, a bust of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was unveiled in Poets' Corner, Westminster Abbey, positioning the American between memorials to Geoffrey Chaucer and John Dryden. Longfellow was the first foreign author thus honoured, and his selection created transatlantic controversy. Through newspapers and correspondence, this article explores how Longfellow's bust came to be in Poets' Corner, tracing the role of its organizer, Dr William Cox Bennett, his benefactors in government and the Palace, and a host of distinguished contributors to the campaign. While nineteenth-century celebrity is often described as a public phenomenon accompanied by crowds of cheering admirers, the memorialization campaign centred on transatlantic elites who praised Longfellow's virtue, humility, and internationalism. The article examines how the campaign shaped the meaning of both Poets' Corner and late nineteenth-century transatlantic fraternity and argues that it also became the setting for conflicting ideas about literature, cosmopolitanism, national memory, and Victorian racial theories.
Adam R. Kaul, Loredana Salis, Mairead Nic Craith, and Stefan Handler
Coleman, S. and P. Collins (2007) (eds), Locating the Field, Space, Place and Context in Anthropology (Oxford: Berg), 256 pp., Pb: £19.99, ISBN-13: 978-1845204037.
Screeton, P. (2008), Mars Bars and Mushy Peas: Urban Legend and the Cult of Celebrity (Loughborough: Heart of Albion), 184 pp., Pb: £14.95, ISBN-13: 978-1-905646-11-1.
Smith, L, and A. Natsuko (2009) (eds), Intangible Heritage (London and New York: Routledge) 312 pp., Pb: £23.99, Hb: £70.00, ISBN-13: 978-0-415-47396-5.
Tiesler, N. C. (2006), Muslime in Europa: Religion und Identitätspolitiken unter veränderten gesellschaftlichen Verhältnissen (Münster: LIT), 240 pp., Pb: €24.90, ISBN-13: 978-3-8258-9490-0.
The Intellectuals, the Masses and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Anita Loos's tribute to Aldous Huxley appeared in a memorial volume compiled by Julian Huxley in 1966. Among the contributors were Lord David Cecil, Stephen Spender, T.S. Eliot, Osbert Sitwell, Leonard Woolf and Isaiah Berlin. Loos was on eof Aldous Huxley's most famous friends: she was a successful and well connected screenwriter, and the astonishing sales of her novel Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1925) made her a millionaire and a celebrity. The novel also significantly increased her cultural capital, since it was admired by eminent writers and thinkers including James Joyce, Edith Wharton, H.L. Mencken, William Faulkner, Sherwood Anderson, William Empson, George Santayana and Rose Macaulay. For many years, Loos was one of the best known women in the United States, and 1966 was the year she published her autobiographical volume A Girl Like I, which received enthusiastic reviews and led to retrospectives of her films. And yet, if Anita Loos today stands out from the list of Julian Huxley's contributors, it is because the other names are still so familiar, while hers has become obscure.
This paper reports on case studies spanning four consecutive years (2005-2008) focused on addressing and challenging Australian primary school boys’ disengagement with English, particularly reading, using an action research process informed by both quantitative and qualitative data. Primary participants were all male and ranged from 8 to 11 years of age. Boys were identified and selected for each case study based on the questionnaire and interview results from whole grade surveys of both males and females. The data results identified the boys with negative views of literacy and boys who identified reading as being a feminine activity, thereby narrowing their perceptions of masculinity. These boys were involved in a reading/mentoring program with high profile professional Rugby League players. The celebrity rugby league players were involved in ten weekly mentoring and reading sessions with male participants each year. These sessions focused on building positive male identity, shifting negative attitudes to reading and challenging negative stereotypes of both professional sportsmen and boys as readers. After each of the case studies, quantitative and qualitative data indicated a positive change in the participants’ attitudes towards reading as well as their perceived stereotypes of males as readers and increased involvement in voluntary reading.
Celebrity and Politics in Gordon Burn's Born Yesterday
Attempting to convey the experience of the present in all its seeming confusion and disorderliness is a challenge that pushes realist fiction to its limits. Gordon Burn's Born Yesterday (2008) is an ambitious attempt to concertina the space/time between event and representation by portraying the news items of the summer of 2007 with an immediacy rare in narrative fiction. Melding the structure of rapid, associative shifts common to 24-hour news presentation with the docu-realism of the non-fiction novel, Burn articulates the complex symbolic interactions that inform an aesthetic and cultural snapshot of the early twenty-first century. This essay explores the novel's portrayal of the mass mediatisation of contemporary British society and its blurring of the lines between fact and fiction. By comparing the quasi-celebrity attributed to the parents of the abducted child, Madeleine McCann, with the manipulation of the media employed during the Tony Blair/Gordon Brown exchange of power, the essay argues that the dominant logic of specular commoditisation goes hand in hand with the novel's focus on narratives of loss, abandonment, and emptiness.
The World of Irish Women's Best-sellers
This is the opening of Patricia Scanlan’s first best-seller, City Girl, and it also marks the beginning of a compelling chapter in Irish publishing. In 1990, City Girl made the publishers, Poolbeg, a household name in Ireland, finally establishing them in the commercial market they had been chasing since Meave Binchy defected to English publishers with her break through novel Light a Penny Candle (1982). Within twelve months of City Girl’s first run, Scanlan and her editor were media celebrities and other publishers were finding suitable candidates for the packaging process – resulting in best-sellers Deirdre Purcell and Liz Ryan. By best-selling fiction I am referring to high-selling, widely read, popular fiction. The genre is identifiable by packaging, location and theme: fat books about love and relationships, four hundred pages at the least; two or three word titles often eclipsed in size and prominence by the author’s name. These books are widely available outside conventional bookshops, on sale in airports, train stations, supermarkets, large newsagents and corner shops. This thriving best-seller genre has gone largely unremarked in Irish cultural criticism. Yet there has been a remarkable coincidence between its appearance and an upsurge of feminist writing questioning the literary, historical and political heritage of ‘mother Ireland’ for Irish women.
Rethinking Girls' Resistance and Agency in Postcolonial Contexts
In this article I explore the performance art of international hip-hop artist M.I.A. to interrogate the problematic of girls' resistance and agency within a global youthscape. Using a feminist transnational framework, I analyze how her music and celebrity persona may be considered gendered post-colonial cultural productions that highlight issues of inequality, violence and domination. I argue that M.I.A.'s cultural productions serve as pedagogical symbolic resources for theorizing girlhood in post-colonial contexts specifically around issues of sexuality. As a symbolic resource, M.I.A.'s work is pedagogical in the larger global youthscape as well as in scholarship on girls in post-colonial contexts. Specifically, M.I.A. (in her music and interviews) openly wrestles with the embodied tensions between complicity and possibility in post-colonial girlhood. Consistent with a feminist transnational framework, I argue that the identities of “Third World” girls are discursively produced as innocent yet hypersexualized exotic Others in the service and/or mercy of “First World” colonial men and women. However, M.I.A. makes explicit that within the context of globalization, the cultural politics of gender and sexuality take place on/through/with brown female bodies—whether it is in the battlefield, the street or in the bedroom. A close analysis M.I.A.'s song 10 Dollar illustrates how Third World girls exercise resistance and agency in negotiating imperialist and nationalist heteropatriarchy.
The epigraph seems to border on hyperbole: were the debates in the
fall of 2001 really “exclusively” subsumed by domestic politics? But
Bassam Tibi, one of the hundreds of experts who made the rounds
on the endless talk shows and conferences in Germany, may be on to
something. In a recent book about how the public intellectuals, religious
leaders, and celebrities reacted to the terror attacks of September
11th, Der Spiegel essayist Hendryk Broder made a similar point as
he aimed his bittersweet satirical wit at the navel-gazing, self-righteousness,
and hypocrisy of Germany’s public intellectuals.2 Broder’s
book is a self-conscious example of that timeless German genre, the
Streitschrift, an erudite polemic in the service of both noble edification
and less high-minded settling of scores with one’s intellectual
opponents. Although exaggerated, one-sided, and terribly funny,
Broder’s analysis of the German public discourse of the fall of 2001
does contain some serious arguments that anyone interested in the
European perception of America cannot ignore. In this essay, I will
sketch the contours of that reaction by focusing first on the kinds of
issues that preoccupied German intellectuals in the wake of the
attacks of September 11th; second, I will contrast that reaction to how ordinary Germans and government officials perceived those
events; third, I will explore the role that anti-Americanism played in
the intellectual debates of fall 2001; and finally, I will reflect on the
significance of September 11th for German society in general.
Nimrod, Surtees, and the New Sporting Magazine
In the early Victorian period, sporting literature found a new audience among the young century's industrialists and prosperous merchants who, enabled by the growth of the railroads and increased access to the countryside, chose to use their increased leisure time to experience English rural life and to hobnob on equal terms, at least superficially, with the rural ancien régime. The New Sporting Magazine, established in 1831, positioned itself to speak both to the existing devotees of sport and to the middle-class audience which was about to make its presence felt in the field. The parallel refinement of English sport and its print discourse is described by and exemplified in the two best-known sport writers of the early Victorian era: Robert Smith Surtees and Charles Apperley ('Nimrod'). Surtees and Nimrod, though highly professional and well remunerated, habitually put forward their own work as 'correspondence', contributing to the illusion that the magazine was a playground for gentlemen of leisure. The careful blend of the conservative and modern in the New Sporting Magazine thus extends to its contributors as well: in this magazine's pages the eighteenth-century culture of the gentleman correspondent was beginning to merge with the culture of the paid celebrity author that would become such a force in the mass literary environment of the nineteenth century.