Monday, January 7, 2013

Most viewed posts of 2012

A a couple of caveats:
  • This is not, and does not aspire to be, a huge traffic blog. I am not claiming these posts were huge successes in absolute terms. They just drew more traffic by my humble standards.
  • These are the posts that I put up in 2012 that drew the most traffic in 2012. There are posts I put up two or three years ago that drew more views than some of these in the last twelve months.

#1 White Girl Singers Who Sound Black

This surprised me because I thought I was writing about something that would only interest me when I put it up. I've tracked the subject in a terribly informal, not serious way over the years and wrote about some singers I remembered. I suspect its relative popularity stems from the fact that very few people write about this subject and the few that do use it as an excuse to moralize about race rather than talk about the singers. I may be the only game in town for readers who are simply curious.

#2 Mad Men: What is Lakshmi up to? 

 True confession time: I expected to hate Mad Men when I first watched it. Everything about the show and the people who were praising it to me led mo to think it was going to be an over-rated bit of fluff. Instead it turned out to be a fascinating show that digs deeply into the moral ambiguities of our time. (So far anyway.) This particular episode was a perfect example of that. TV critic Matt Zoller Seitz, on the other hand, was upset about one scene this past season that he described as the ...

... most incoherent scene in season five of Mad Men, and the one that most lends credence to the notion that this is ultimately a male-centered show that understands many of its female characters in an academic rather than intuitive way.
I argued that the exact opposite was the case and there were enough people out there who felt likewise to make this my second-most viewed post of the year.

#3  A little light culture: That anal sex question

It's one of the oddities of the sexual politics of the current era that the near-universal popularity of fellatio both with men receiving and women giving is seen as a problem whereas anal sex, which is of little attraction for most men compared to other options available to them and hated by most women, is promoted as something everyone should try. This post examined one of the the more blatant and offensive examples of this promotion. Offensive, by the way, because it promoted anal sex to young teens.

#4 Neo noir Thursday: Swimming Pool

Anything that seems ripe for parody is probably much harder to do than it looks. A prime example of this is neo noir. Often attempted but rarely pulled off, a good neo noir is a rare thing and a good neo noir with a female lead is nearly impossible. The relative popularity of this post probably is probably because it directs people to one of the very few examples of the latter out there.

# 5 What are they selling: Another image

There is certainly a right to pursue dignity, just as there is a right  to pursue happiness, but it is problematic to suggest that people are entitled to success in these pursuits. That is unless you are part of the poverty industry and looking for a pitch that will pull the money in.

# 6 A lighter political item

Stacy McCain has a blog that probably draws more viewers every five minutes than this post picking on a momentary indiscretion of his has in a year. That said, there is a tendency on the right to shoot off mouths before really thinking things through and that is especially true when mocking women's sexual self-presentation. If Rush Limbaugh had read and thought about this post he never would have made the mistake of calling Sandra Fluke a slut.

#7 Neo noir: Impulse

A thorough trashing of a film that richly deserves it. This is, as I keep saying, a very low-profile blog but it's not impossible that more people read this post than saw this movie. Well, no, not really but I still suspect the post's relative popularity is a reflection of the issue it raises rather than any interest in the movie I write about. And that issue is this: Why can't a woman misbehave sexually in a film and yet remain a sympathetic character? There are thousands upon thousands of male roles that pull this off. Why can we not, despite all our much-bragged about "liberation" and "enlightenment", appreciate a sexually misbehaving female as a complex but ultimately sympathetic character?

# 8 Well worth reading

A post recommending a piece about Susan Sontag. I doubt anyone has ever come to this blog looking for interesting stuff about Susan Sontag. Lots of people come, however, to read what I have to say about Mad Men and it was probably my suggesting that the barbarism that Sontag first encouraged  and then came to regret was an important bit of background for understanding the show that attracted readers.

# 9 A little light culture: Jenny McCarthy's hot dog

A recurring theme on this blog is the paradoxical way that our culture obsesses about women's sexuality but still remains utterly naive about the things women actually do with and about their sexuality. This is one of many posts on the subject and it probably drew traffic because the words "Jenny McCarthy" are Google bait.

# 10 Sorta political: Why David Weigel deserves our contempt 

Collectively speaking, the news media are currently incompetent and morally despicable. In this post, I went after one target in a target-rich environment.

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