^Amazing I haven't used this one yet.
1. Wrote some semblance of a columnpost for the new digs here on Miley Cyrus and the "See You Again" CASCADE -- I still haven't found any convincing evidence that this song was actively shopped to major radio stations (except for an insinuation it was at Wikipedia). Even the semi-gushing Billboard article on "See You Again" says nothing about how it of all songs on Meet Miley wound up on the charts. (For those of you who care more about the Pats at the moment, check out the post before mine.)
2. Saw one film that might knock "Knocked Up" out of my top ten: Cronenberg's Eastern Promises, which probably gets a notch above "I'm Not There" and somewhere below No Country for Old Men. Best part: duh, bath-house showdown(!!!!) (second place goes to the Russian feast at the beginning).
3. Saw one film that might knock EVERYTHING ELSE out of ANY OTHER LIST EVER: Babe: A Pig in the Motherfuckin City. SO RIDICULOUSLY ADORABLE.
4. Listened to one album that was v. clever: Petra Haden Sings the Who Sell Out.
5. Listened to no other new albums. Are there any?
6. Currently reading Carl Wilson's Let's Talk About Love book. Kind of surprised at just how little is written about what Celine's music actually sounds like, and how much faith there seems to be that a reader is generally familiar with her work outside of a handful of huge singles on the radio (I preemptively note that a chapter I haven't read yet -- the [EDIT: second-to-]last one -- sez it's going to deal with the album). I mention this because one thing I think the book gets wrong, aside from a (somewhat false-start-ish) framing device that uses the phrase "relativistic rabbit hole" (which instinctively makes my stomach hurt) is the extent to which most people don't know anything about Celine, as a person or as an artist. I guess this is different coming from a Canadian culture (as Carl is) where Quebec means something more close-to-home and tangible (and along these lines, Carl's most interesting insights come in the form of establishing Celine's unique "otherness" as a result of her Quebec heritage -- an otherness that doesn't tend to translate to wider audiences). But to me, the weirdest thing about Celine -- and also the main wall that might stop me from even trying to, say, write a book about her -- is that I just know absolutely nothing about her.
My own take, having something of a personal history with Celine myself (if you were in a middle school choir when Celine started getting big -- c. Titanic -- you probably sang at least one of her songs) is that the general and widespread hatred for Celine (as it manifests itself in the US and Canada and maybe the UK -- another interesting chapter on "global Celine" clarifies how globally limited the hatred really is) is random and mostly improvised, owing to no great organizing "principle" but rather galvanizing all sorts of stray, somewhat disparate attacks floating around mainstream/anti-mainstream culture. The social stuff of words like "sheen" and "schmaltz" -- there's a good chapter on the history of the word and its manifestations, though the assumption that "schmaltz" is primarily Celine's milieu seems a little reductive -- and, also occasionally on display here, words like "pap" and "naff." My guess, even after reading about half the book, is still that people hate Celine because lots of other people hate her, and they hate her because of lots of other people's hatred, etc. The possible "ground zero" of hatred (if there is one, I guess it would have to be her international child stardom) just doesn't seem to me to be at all connected with how the majority of haters hate on her. I didn't even know she was a child star -- to me she came completely out of nowhere and was all of a sudden, seemingly overnight, on the cultural map (and the charts). I'd say that her international success is easy to characterize as non-random after-the-fact, but there's no actual inevitability of such a rise (for every Celine or ABBA there are countless performers and groups and child stars and talent competition winners that go exactly nowhere, even after their major label deals and whatever else).
I know just from a skim through the remaining stuff (the "taste chapters") that I'm going to be uncomfortable with some of the taste-talk, and I may or may not just avoid talking about it here entirely, since I don't want to turn mere hand-wringing into something more like...y'know BLOGSPAT. I think generally the book is scattered enough in its observations and musings that you can sort of take from it what you like, which is a strength -- there are a lot of angles, admittedly not all of which I'm totally on board with, presenting a more in-depth picture of Celine-as-object-of-attention (less so Celine-as-artist) than I've certainly ever read. But I still don't really get what's up with all the fuss about her!
[EDIT: Should note I'm on Chapter 9 of 12...I'm glossing over the taste stuff not because I don't think there are interesting insights here (Carl mentions a Duncan Watts survey I found pretty interesting, for one thing) but that the whole project seems to me a little frustrating: I just feel like the question "what is taste" can't help but produce unsatisfying results. "What's my taste" is a bit more fruitful, not because it's "subjective cuz there is no objectivity GOTCHA" or whatever, but because that's where the DATA is. I just can't imagine a survey that could actually take into account variables of how a given person's taste works, much less how that individual taste translates into a "collective taste" -- these are two separate analyses, one of impressions and loose descriptions/social mapping and the other of the expression of a larger (already-formed) network. The "bridge" between the two involves so many various contingencies and utter randomness that it's impossible not to get mired in speculation, which makes an "investigation" of "how these bridges work," and perhaps even "how THIS PARTICULAR bridge worked" (Celine's bridge, for instance) kind of impossible (in the former case) and at least suspect (in the latter case).
Weirdly, I'm talking about this very thing in the post I just wrote for Cave17; basically, I'm suggesting that the rock-critic narrative largely consists of mapping the "small" to the "big," seeing how we go from a couple of fans to global megastardom, but (1) things don't always happen this way (see: Hannah Montana, Celine Dion) and (2) sometimes when things DO happen this way even though they weren't supposed to (see: Hannah Montana, Celine Dion) we won't really recognize it. E.g., even though Celine has a complex series of events leading to her megastardom, no one recognizes her career as such; likewise, no one really recognizes (yet) how strange it is that "See You Again" became a hit on mainstream radio before Radio Disney even played the damn thing!]