Subversive Scarlett

This month, it was announced that Scarlett Johansson would play the lead role in “Ghost in the Shell,” the first American adaptation of the popular anime book series about a female cyborg cop. Given the paucity of roles written for East Asian actresses, cries of whitewashing deserved to be heard. But some felt that, if a white woman had to be cast, Scar-Jo was the perfect pick.

With her Marilyn Monroe curves, full lips, sparkling eyes, and low-key charisma, it would be easy for the former child star to coast on an endless wave of mainstream Hollywood wife and prostitute roles. Instead, ever since she broke out in 2003′s “Lost in Translation,” Johansson keeps playing against type – subverting her good looks by playing cartoons of femininity that, in many cases, are not even human.

Consider these six roles. (more…)

A Sometimes Snag of Sola Ladyhood

Says Elaine Blair in her review of Rachel Cusk’s Outline:

We come to feel an intimacy with [single lady protagonist] Faye that has nothing to do with disclosure; though we know conspicuously little about her, we share with her the experience of listening to others, and, as we do so, it becomes clear that a certain kind of conversation is missing from Faye’s days and nights. No one speaks to her in the casual shorthand of daily intimacy.

Says I: Comes with the turf, though a Turf of One’s Own is still worth it.Read More

The Church of the Wintry Mix

Earlier tonight, I roasted a chicken and assembled a kale salad with fig vinegar, sunflower seeds, and chopped rosemary and blood oranges; I made use of the extra fridge afforded by winter (the fire escape) to cool the leftovers of that earnest-lady feast before storing them. Now, from my quiet blue rooms atop an East Williamsburg hill, I’m drinking a glass of red wine and watching the city twinkle without me. It was a frustrating few days–egos flared, including my own–and if you could see me flanked by my somber little kitty at the kitchen window, you might think I was still mulling big stuff.… Read More