Jane in Progress and visual culture in general

I love film and TV so of course I want to read about them. Jane in Progress is a blog, recommended to me by my friend Artist-At-Large. It's a fascinating look inside big TV. Jane’s blog is so honest. She even quotes her hourly rate. It’s endearing, although odd, that she also records what she eats for lunch each day. I just wish I knew of someone doing the same thing for the Canadian TV industry.

When you watch a TV show weekly, you feel as if you knew the characters. I return to shows to check in with my favorites and see how they're doing and find out what problems or successes they're experiencing. It’s a bit like what you do with real friends. No, that’s not pathetic. TV writers deliberately create dramas which encourage you to do this. It's only because we care enough to tune in that the advertisers get paid.

Outside of C.S.I., which has finally started to bore me, my tastes are more campy than mainstream. For ages my favorite shows were Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Xena, Warrior Princess. I fondly remember driving home Thursdays, to my weekly reward after swim practice, Xena. The writers on that show were so wacky! There was no risk they wouldn’t take, no mythical or religious tradition they were afraid to pastiche for the pleasure of satire, silliness and “battle on Xena” adventure. They went from musicals to drama to suspense to slapstick to melee fighting to motherhood. Why watch more shows when you can get more out of one?

The only show I’ve watched lately, other than Daily Planet (which my son adores), is Ugly Betty. I’ve watched it twice and I love it for all the right reasons. It’s Latino; it’s new; it’s satirical and of course: Who wouldn’t feel virtuous to laugh at the evil snorts who run the fashion world!

Of course I have no idea if they're making the whole thing up. As a teenager my mother was always encouraging me to be more fashionable. She's a visual artist. I'm just not. The swim team and cross-country team notwithstanding, I was more of a nerd. I would eat in the cafeteria but sometimes I would spend lunch hour in the computer room or playing eucre in the Yearbook office (I was copy editor) or reading in the library. Many of my friends were in the gifted program so I had no idea that these actions were nerdy. I was too innocent to know or care.

I enjoyed highschool. After attending a small public school from kindergarten to grade eight, it was fascinating to meet so many people and socialize with different groups (yearbook, neighborhood pals, gifted kids, swim team, art homeroom).

As for fashion, I’m still hot and cold. I buy the occasional in-style piece but I mainly do my own thing. I like fashion if it comes out of a desire to create beauty, not out of a desire to outshine peers, display wealth or conform to a group. As my mother says: “It wouldn’t do for us all to be the same.”

If you have any doubt that we’ve gone too far in the whole plastic surgery/ digital enhanced/ wigged-out worship of manufactured beauty, watch Dove's Evolution video. And if you feel like a bad feminist for watching an ad posing as social commentary, I don't know, don't buy Dove? I prefer Ivory soap myself.