Thursday, August 31, 2006

What's in a Name

I have a fairly common name. Michelle. Michelle my belle...blah, blah, blah. If I had a dollar for every bozo who started singing that piece of drivel at me, college would be all but paid for. If I ever meet Paul McCartney, we're going to have words about that one, let me tell you. The cool thing about a common name is that you can almost always find personalized stationary and little key chains with your name on them. Drawbacks include being one of three or more "Michelles" in school and the ongoing one or two "l" debate. I'm a two "l" girl myself.

I kind of figured, when I named my blog that it wasn't a terribly original name either. Hence the creative spelling. I seem to remember a singer called Phranc, so the ph thing has probably been done to death too, but hey, it's my little blog and I'll call it what I want. Right? Right.

My dear friend Marz found the coolest new 'zine called...yep, The F-Word. (sigh) I'd be kind of annoyed at myself for being so boring except that this 'zine is ephin' cool! I read the thing cover to cover over the last two days and have also inhaled the earlier online version. Seriously, you must check them out.
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A few favorite articles include:

The Left Needs An Extreme Makeover - in which Zhubin Parang discusses the tendency for us lefties to scare the bejesus out of mainstream America and why this can be not so good.

I Am Controversy - in which Katrina Wong skewers glitzy Broadway show-stoppers about Vietnamese women pining away for distant white guys and gets an earful from an audience member.

On Virginity - in which Kat Allen writes about the "hot dog in the bun" theory and trying to give "it" up at the ripe old age of 21.

The F-Word 'zine is the labor of love of one Melody Berger, a senior at Temple University majoring in, what else, women's studies. She started the project as a continuation of a feminist theory workshop she taught to high school kids for the past three summers. While I like the original on-line version, I am in love with the subsequent printed edition. It looks like it was laid out by a scrapbook happy, angsty sixteen-year-old. Yet the articles are intelligent, sometimes angry, sometimes funny and always well written. Including an interview with the indomitable Margaret Cho and another with (ohmigod!) Gloria Steinem entitled "A Royal Audience with the Queen of the Feminists" The art work inside is edgy, provocative and fun. There are ink and pencil images of fiesty females generally making a ruckus (drawn by the amazing Cristy C. Road) as well as darker images like the gun wielding woman clutching a silicone breast implant gone wrong drawn by Lis Boriss. That one accompanies Zhubin Parang's article about fighting the FDA's approval of silicone breast implants with NOW.

Maybe I'm getting a little old for this sort of thing, but I just love it. It's so refreshing, so inspiring to read these words pieced together by people motivated enough to bother. It's nice to know that somebody is still awake in this country. I guess that's always been the appeal of little 'zines, though. They are by nature an alternative source of news and opinions from young people who don't have to answer to the mainstream media conglomerates.

I remember a quote from the afterward of Prozac Nation by Elizabeth Wurtzel (another favorite writer of mine) She said she wanted to write like rock and roll. After reading her first book, I think she accomplished just that. So have the writers at The F-Word.

Rock on.


Marz said...

I'm so glad you liked it. I tried to read it but it just sat on my desk for a month or so. Hmm, maybe I will have to steal it back..LOL

Ms. S said...

Meesh, I need to tell you know that "a rose by any other name wouldn't smell as sweet."

Besides, when I was a kid, I wanted to be "Jennifer." Now, most people named that scare me.

Love you!