catapult magazine

catapult magazine

Vol 2, Num 24 :: 2003.12.19 — 2004.01.01



The Simple Life

Fox’s newest reality TV show The Simple Life features socialite Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie, two spoiled ‘Hollywood types’ who have to survive a month on a farm in rural Arkansas. After only a few episodes, the moral of the story is not yet clear, but there is a fair bit of country mouse vs. city mouse comedy (Hilton and Ritchie spend an hour doing their hair and makeup before going to milk cows) and dramatic conflicts of interest. So far, the suspense builds not just around whether or not the girls will survive, but also around the question of whether the Arkansas town will be able to avoid being corrupted by the girls who have no respect for wholesome small-town life. Oh yeah, and there’s a dramatic subplot: will Paris and Ritchie will have a threesome with the teenage boy in the family so that, according to Ritchie, he’ll have something to remember them by. We’ll have to wait and see! The Simple Life was slated for release in August but then held until November, shortly after a certain video tape featuring Ms. Hilton surfaced on the internet. Which really makes you wonder at the machinations of television marketing.

Faking It

In related cultural news, word has it that TLC, the cable network that brought us the hit shows A Dating Story, A Wedding Story and A Baby Story (almost always broadcast in that order) is planning to reverse the formula of The Simple Life. An upcoming episode of their show Faking It will feature a pretty, wholesome girl from Nebraska thrust into the Manhattan upper-class social scene to see if she can pass for a real live party girl. Wow. If you didn’t know better, you?d think the general population was obsessed with wealth and youth. (See also MTV?s Rich Girls.)

?Bling bling is alive and well in Billboard lyrics?

American Brandstand brings us the Top 10 brands mentioned in Top 20 Billboard lyrics of 2003. Everybody knows hip-hop has a long tradition of brand dropping, but did you know the practice has a century-old precedent? Check out this beauty from 1903:  “Come, come, come and make eyes with me / Under the Anheuser Bush / Come, Come, drink some Budwise with me / Under the Anheuser Bush / Hear the old German band / Just let me hold your hand / Yah! Do, Do, Come and have a stein or two / Under the Anheuser Bush. Bush.” Weird.

Religious Symbols Big and Small

Jacques Chirac has recently stated his concerns about ?overt religious symbols? in public schools, and has even gone so far as to call for a ban on them. But not all of them. Just big ones. From the Washington Post article: “The Islamic veil, whatever name it is given, the kippa [the Jewish skullcap] or the cross, if of manifestly excessive dimensions, don’t have a place within the walls of public schools,” Chirac said. Small, discreet signs, such as tiny crosses or Stars of David, should be allowed, he said. Hmm. I wonder how big is too big for a Star of David. Two inches? Three? And what’s the French translation of “missing the forest for the trees”?

Angels in America on HBO

Tony Kushner’s stunning play about homosexuality, America, the 80s, and all things in between is finally a movie. On December 7, HBO aired the first part of the two-part film directed by Mike Nichols and starring Al Pacino, Meryl Streep and Emma Thompson. The epic 7-hour play (now epic six-hour movie) is as funny as it is poetic and moving, and every bit as relevant as the play was when it opened on Broadway in 1993. In fact, the apocalyptic nature of the play takes on new significance today, Kushner says in a Newsweek interview. HBO will re-run the film a zillion times in the next few months, no doubt. So check your local listings or find a friend with cable, if you’re interested.

Tupac Film

Tupac Shakur’s story is told in his own words for the recently released (and also often re-run) MTV film, Tupac: Resurrection. In the film, Shakur reveals some of the ideas about race that motivated his music. The rapper shares his beliefs about God, his task as an artist, and also eerily predicts his own death. Check out this film that reveals the prophetic nature of rock and rap musicians in today’s society.

The Best of The Best of 2003

Everybody loves a good list. Film, music, wine, architecture, advertising and many, many more categories. Here is your resource for the best of everything in 2003.

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