will the history girls please stand up?

Last night I stayed up way too late watching the National History Bee, televised for the first time this year. While as a history major I was obviously really excited by the concept, the execution was not so great. This post isn’t about the execution, however, because there was something worse happening on screen than Al Roker’s forced humor (bordering on meanness), or the color commentary, or the fact that Dallas, M.A.S.H., and I Love Lucy were all answers.

Out of 16 finalists, zero were girls.

Yep. Zero.

Honestly I don’t know who to be upset with here. The Bee’s sponsor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt probably wasn’t like “omg guys let’s keep out ALL the girls they have cooties,” and if it was the boys who got the questions right, it’s not like they were going to be like “nope, sorry dude, we have a quota we’re taking this girl instead.” But somewhere in the path to the History Bee finals, someone failed. Girls weren’t encouraged to apply, girls weren’t supported in their classes. I don’t know. But I refuse to believe that there wasn’t one middle-school girl in the entire country smart and educated enough to be among our nation’s top 16 history geeks. Why wasn’t she there?

And maybe this lack of girl contestants made me even more aware of the lack of women’s history questions. I stopped counting at 6, but there were definitely no more than 10 in the almost two hours I watched, and about half of the female figures only got “partial credit,” as part of a group of men (Vivian Vance and Desi Arnaz, for example). That is something I can be upset at the Bee for, and I am. Surely Oprah, Mother Theresa, Betsy Ross, and Anne Frank are not the ONLY women who have contributed to history. I remember five musical questions, all male-oriented. What about Janis Joplin? Josephine Baker? Loretta Lynn? Should we count the Verdi question as partial credit because the answer wasAida?

At least they mentioned women’s suffrage. I guess.

Frankly: I’m disappointed in you, National History Bee.

I would be interested in your theories about the lack of female contestants or questions, because I really don’t have any. Hit up the comments.


why FACE OFF is the best reality show on television

Face Off on SyFy is yet another Project Runway-type ripoff reality show, this one focusing on special effects makeup artists. (Get the feeling they’re running out of niches?) Of course I watched the first season last year, because really now, and it was a lot of fun, but it’s so oddball that I was afraid it wouldn’t get picked up for a second season.

But! Luckily! Season 2!

the cast of season 2

Aside: I almost missed the start of Season 2 because SyFy (I hate typing that every time) did a poor job of advertising it. I only saw an ad a few days before, and it didn’t even have an air date—just “January 2011.” I had to look it up, which just goes to show how excited I was for the show. (Thursdays at 10, icyww.)


Conor's Frog Prince from season 1

My favorite part of the first episode, honestly, was when last year’s winner, Conor, showed up as a guest judge and it turned out he had been hired by one of the permanent judges, Ve Neill; both are currently working on The Hunger Games. It’s honestly so rare for winners of these shows to actually go on to become something in their given industry (Christian Siriano being the notable exception) that it’s awesome to see that he won this goofy little reality tv show and is now employed doing what he loves.

But back to the show. I don’t know why this one is so cool versus all the other copycats like Work of Art or Project Accessory. I think it might be because there is so. much. art involved. They sculpt and paint and design costumes and create characters and it has to be pretty and functional and tell a story all at once. The judges have exacting standards. The characters, er, people (at least last season) are the right mix of likable and dramatic. It’s simply fun to watch (especially if, like me, you have a professional artist on hand to go “ooooh that’s a bad decision” and then watch things go bad).

I think it helps that the show is so new that the challenges haven’t become monotonous yet. Project Runway, much as I love it, can get pretty predictable. You know every season they’re going to do certain challenges; with Face Off, everything is still new and exciting.

So. On the one hand I’m being selfish and advocating for this show because I want lots of people to watch it so it doesn’t get canceled. On the other hand it is actually a remarkably entertaining show. So! The moral of this story is if you aren’t watching Face Off you should give it a try. Because I mean really, look at this shit:

re-imagining of the scarecrow from the wizard of oz, season 2

Project Runway redux

Yes yes, I know what I said about Project Runway.

I said I was bored. I said I thought I was over it. I said I would give them one more chance but I would have to be blown. away. in order to keep watching.


Tim and Heidi did it. They got me back.

Starting with the “Road to the Runway” special, where we saw them narrow it down to the 20 semi-finalists, I was hooked by the people. There are some dramatic personalities up in here. And a lot of them make some pretty awesome clothes.

And of course I have some favorites…

  • Becky Ross—I love her “rock ‘n’ roll pin-up” style, like, LOVE (though I wasn’t actually as impressed with her look in the first challenge)
  • Bryce Black—chic and fabulous at the same time
  • Anthony Ryan Auld—love his quirky style and his attitude

And of course I can already tell a few who are going to annoy me…

  • Cecilia has, um, a bit too much personality for me…
  • Danielle and her feminist see-through clothes and her super sweet attitude are going to get on every one of my nerves, I can tell already
  • and Anya is just too… good. like, how dare she learn how to sew four months ago?

I’m sorry David Chum was the first one out and didn’t make it past the semi-finals, I loved his coats and he’s a local Boston boy. :-(

But yeah, so. They’ve got me. I’m a little concerned because they opened with a twist on an old challenge—but at least it was a twist.

So. I’ll play your game, Heidi Klum. For now.

mish-mash muddle

Hi! I’m here! Been busy this past week, what with work craziness and friend awesomeness. So a quick catch-up of my recent activities and ponderings.

So. Bullet points, methinks? Why yes please.

  • On Kanye: I’m with O’Bama here, what a jackass. I don’t care if you’re drunk, I don’t care if you haven’t recovered from your mother’s death (I mean I do, but dude take some time off, nobody will blame you, and stop using it as an excuse) but you don’t have to ruin the girl’s moment. On the other hand and also, I’m tired of hearing about it. I’ve enjoyed its week of press, but enough is enough. Move on.
  • On Joe Wilson: Okay so maybe I’m an insensitive bigot, but could everyone just chill the fuck out, please? Telling the President he’s a liar is okay. No, really. I personally think O’Bama is the shit, but if we can’t call our politicians out when we think they’re wrong, what’s the point? Sure it’s disrespectful. Wilson didn’t mean to be respectful. He doesn’t like our President. And that’s okay.
    Of course, if he doesn’t like our president because our President is black, as some people are saying, that is not okay. I haven’t really looked into Wilson’s past—he’s a Republican from South Carolina, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anything. But even if he were a card-carrying member of the KKK, those two words—”you lie”—don’t reflect that at all. They’re just rude and ill-timed and my god people get over it already.
    Devil’s Advocate, that’s me.
  • 9: Don’t go see this movie. It does not live up to expectations at ALL, and I was really expecting it to be good. It’s really really pretty, and if you have to see it, definitely see it on the big screen, but ugh plot wtf. It’s taken Harry Potter and Star Wars elements and squished them all together with the apocolypse. Things are not explained, things are weird, dialogue is blah, it’s just a total ugh.
  • One of my bffs just moved to New York City and I am sooooo jealous of him. Haha I just called him a bff. I hope he properly appreciates it.
  • I would not make a good politician’s wife, because I don’t know how to tie a tie. (Currently watching Brotherhood.)
  • roadhouse
    RIP, babe. I’ll miss you.