By Kristen on A Girl's Education in Little House in the Big Woods

"They braided their back hair in long braids and then they did the braids up carefully in big knots."


That is all.

Posted on September 11, 2013 at 12:10 pm 2

By Steven@twitter on Paula Abdul vs. MC Skat Kat: A Comparative Analysis of "Opposites Attract"

To the casual pop listener, Abdul and Kat's work appears to be a superficial discussion of the nature of modern romance, but a close reading reveals it to also be an exploration of love as a Hegelian dialectic.

This Hegelian vision of love is most clearly revealed when, at the beginning of the second verse, Kat asks, "Who'd have thought we could be lovers?". As the chorus of the song repeatedly affirms, "[they] go together", and yet on its face this seems incredulous to even Kat himself. "She makes the bed, and he steals the covers," yet they love each other. Unable to reconcile their ostensibly incompatible natures with their very apparent love, Kat and Abdul must reject the popular vision of a love engendered in compatible traits and instead recognize that "[they] go together 'cause opposites attract."

In their proposed Hegelian love, it is impossible to make value judgements regarding either partner's preferences. Their kind of love requires the thesis of Abdul's preference for neatness to come together with its antithesis, Kat's mess-making, in an amatory synthesis. To ask which partner's traits are preferable is counterproductive. Both are essential.

HOWEVER, if I were to basely engage in such a comparative analysis, I would be remiss to not point out that Skat Kat likely parties all night because he is a member of the largely nocturnal Felidae family. Also, he doesn't have thumbs to facilitate bed-making. And maybe Skat wouldn't need to steal the covers if Paula wasn't so stingy with the climate control -- she's got the thumbs AND the money to bump the temperature up a notch or two.

Posted on May 29, 2013 at 1:03 am 6

By katiemcgillicuddy on Paula Abdul vs. MC Skat Kat: A Comparative Analysis of "Opposites Attract"

@Tuna Surprise (For what it's worth, despite this making me look like an idiot, it has been making me laugh all day)

Posted on May 28, 2013 at 3:18 pm 4

By hunterthefool on Paula Abdul vs. MC Skat Kat: A Comparative Analysis of "Opposites Attract"

Dear Ms. Roupenian,

Although I fully support your effort to address the current lack of critical analysis of the above mentioned pop hit, I must take exception to much of your analysis. Not only do I diverge from you in my analysis of a number of the "oppositional dichotomies," I also maintain that by limiting your analysis to isolated pairing questions, you miss the forest for the trees - and fail to understand the gestalt of Paula Abdul and MC Skat Kat.

Your analysis of the "moves slow/is fast" dichotomy is flawed in a number of ways. First, the notion that this is anything but a sexual innuendo is absurd. The pantomiming of coitus that is displayed throughout video, along with the overall theme of compatibility in an intimate relationship, strongly indicates this is a reference to sexual styles. However, even in your understanding of this dichotomy in that context, your analysis is flawed. Given that they are already in a relationship (see "Baby ain't it somethin'/How we lasted this long/You and me/Provin' everyone wrong) it would be rather irrelevant if this difference was a reference to a behavior preferences that caused differences only at an earlier time in the relationship. Given the nature of the dichotomies, it is safe to assume that this song describes a present state of affairs and is not lamenting or reminiscing about some prior state. With this in mind, the meaning of this line is clearly referring to differing sexual styles while in flagrante delicto. While there are studies to show that there may be gender differences that lead to preferences in tempo, a preference for a slower tempo (specifically and in general) would supersede any other preference for both emotional and physiological reasons. While this leads me to the same conclusion as you, I find that your analysis is confused and filled with incorrect assumptions. You also fail to attempt to understand this dichotomy in the context of the overall song's meaning.

Next, your understanding of the "likes it neat/makes a mess" line is flawed in both your analysis and in your conclusions. A shift from "likes" to "makes" suggests no hidden causality. Taken on its face it describes two different stipulations, which I circumlocute here for your benefit: 1. Paula has a preference for her physical surroundings to exist in a state that may be characterized as orderly, organized, properly maintained, and generally existing without chaos. 2. Oftentimes MC Skat Kat, through his agency, causes his physical surroundings to exist in a state that may be characterized as disorderly, disorganized, improperly maintained, and generally existing in a state of chaos. This line may not be construed to offer either of these stipulations "Paula, through her agency, oftentimes causes her physical surroundings to be neat" nor "MC Skat Kat exhibits a preference for messiness.” Again, perhaps your conclusion that Paula is the winner still stands despite this more thorough understanding of the specific verbiage, however, the notion that this language implies willful fight baiting is completely unfounded.

In your analysis of "Takes it easy/Gets obsessed" you reveal your prejudice against MC Skat Kat. There is no reason to believe that the use of the word obsessed in this song alludes to negative - and even violent - connotations. If that were the case, the author might have used a much less casual description of Paula. The use of such a colloquial phrase to describe Paula invites the description of MC Skat Kat to be understood with at least a comparable gravity. If you were willing to grant a draw in the rather similar "takes things light/takes things serious," I think you ought to stick to that conclusion here as well.

Regarding smoking, it is rather inconsistent that you find judgments on personal behavior preference that amounts to slut shaming to be "problematic" but in the matter of another personal behavior preference you are not willing to grant a similar categorization. Furthermore, the evidence that second hand smoke - and smoking in general - is linked to these sorts of causes of death are overwhelmingly correlational. I would expect a responsible literary analyst such as yourself, to stick to rigorous academic standards and not fall into popular science traps.

Now despite all of these criticisms I would also conclude (using your method) that Paula is the one who is dating down. However, that misses out on the most important line of the song:

When things go wrong we make corrections
To keep things moving in the right direction

When taken with this line:

But when we get together
We have nothin' but fun

Whereas the entire song is a description of the present (and in limited cases, the past), these lines hints at a method that is successful at present, as well as a proscription for future success. It implies that in each way that they diverge, they are able to make small changes to keep things right.

So we may imagine that they may find common grounds on their entertainment preferences, they are able to temper each other's seriousness and lackadaisicalness. Regarding sleeping preferences, Paula will drive MC Skat Kat to have a more health sleep schedule, and MC Skat Kat will be well equipped to stay awake when they have need for that. Perhaps we can imagine that MC Skat Kat will slow down just enough to meet Paula's needs, and Paula will be cognizant that MC Skat Kat is sometimes desirous of expedited sexual activities - which could certainly be accommodated if they made an effort. Obviously in the realm of noise we may hope that MC Skat Kat is considerate for Paula's preference for quite. Et cetera. The author informs us that this couple has a proven track record for making accommodations and we are given no evidence to doubt this.
While I support and appreciate your original research on this topic, I encourage you to revisit your analysis in the areas listed above.



Posted on May 28, 2013 at 1:55 pm 13

By zamboni on Paula Abdul vs. MC Skat Kat: A Comparative Analysis of "Opposites Attract"

Get Rid of Your Rapping Cat Boyfriend, Seriously, He Is Revolting

Posted on May 28, 2013 at 12:25 pm 16

By dale on Paula Abdul vs. MC Skat Kat: A Comparative Analysis of "Opposites Attract"

I think I have a crush on the 'Paula you're dating a cat' tag.

(this piece was very funny, Kristen!)

Posted on May 28, 2013 at 12:16 pm 4

By katiemcgillicuddy on Paula Abdul vs. MC Skat Kat: A Comparative Analysis of "Opposites Attract"

I know it's only Monday, but I'm fairly confident this will be my favorite thing I read all week.

Posted on May 28, 2013 at 12:08 pm 11

By Jocasta Carr on Relax ... Into Love

Also not loving the heteronormativity/privileging of the male gaze happening here! Somehow I doubt they're going to repeat the study with women/women, men/men or women rating the faces of men with varying cortisol levels.

Not to mention that they are assuming elevated levels of stress are the result of a woman's job - the implicit message being, work less or take on less demanding work, little lady, lest your ugly hag stress-face frighten away a potential husband! Maybe she's stressing out because people keep asking her when she's getting a boyfriend/husband/children, did you think of that???

I may be projecting a little here.

Posted on May 22, 2013 at 3:40 pm 8

By Inkling on Eleven Nearly Forgotten Childhood Films

Oh geez I thought that was so hot and I didn't know why.
I'd like a thread of "when my weird sexualities were awakened", also.

Posted on May 13, 2013 at 9:07 pm 6

By ragesinggoddess on Eleven Nearly Forgotten Childhood Films

#10 is in fact Magic in the Mirror: Fowl Play, and the tape is currently stuck in our VCR.

(My husband has a rightfully-forgotten-VHS habit.)

Posted on May 13, 2013 at 6:32 pm 1