Archive for January, 2011

Consequences of success and failure in Caryl Churhcill’s Top Girls

Thompson Burk (1996) argues that the women in Top Girls “face a world in which the consequences of success are almost as frightening as those of failure”. Evaluate.

Set in part against the backdrop of Britain’s launch into individualistic enterprise culture and in part against the span of history, Top Girls is described by Churchill as a feminist socialist play (Lupu, 2003) and succinctly portrays the impasse that women have faced throughout the centuries. Churchill, in Brechtian style (Rabascall, 2000), avoids providing easy answers and actively prevents audience/reader identification with the characters, forcing us to analyse what is being presented. In evaluating Juli Thompson Burk’s (1993) claim, this essay will offer context to the play with reference to the norms of patriarchal societies, it will go on to assess what constitutes success or failure for the women in question and the consequences therein and will subsequently conclude in the affirmative.

Want to read the rest of the essay? Go here :):-


2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads This blog is on fire!.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A helper monkey made this abstract painting, inspired by your stats.

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 6,300 times in 2010. That’s about 15 full 747s.


In 2010, there were 48 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 47 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 16mb. That’s about 4 pictures per month.

The busiest day of the year was October 20th with 111 views. The most popular post that day was Does language make humans distinct from other animals? [full version].

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for the big bang, conformity, public compliance, honeycomb, and private acceptance.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.


Does language make humans distinct from other animals? [full version] April 2010
1 comment


Myths, fairytales, folktales: the prototypes of all narrative? [full version] March 2010


Public compliance vs private acceptance in conformity [full version] May 2010
1 comment


Public compliance vs private acceptance in conformity [short version] May 2010


Evolution, creationism, intelligent design & the huge lack of proof for any of it. March 2010

Spartacus: Blood and Sex

Well I thought True Blood was basically a loosely veiled excuse for graphic sex on television — until I saw Spartacus Blood and Sand, which, as the above promotional  pictures show, is literally the most male-oriented program I have seen in a long time ever. Not to say that I haven’t all but finished the first (and so far only) season, it does keep you watching, but why I’m not sure.

My first impression was that it was 300 in full colour; the fountains of blood alone put it in that category, not to mention the sheer artsyfartsyness. The blood, in fact,was too ridiculous to be taken seriously, until I noticed Sam Raimi‘s name in the credits, which means, of course,  that it is stylish, not overdone. This is not a program for feminists, women being second-class citizens in the era Spartacus is set in, but does show in no uncertain or ambiguous terms the brutal nature of life in Ancient Rome.

The plot lines are predictable, but I’ve been impressed by the lack of binaries. There are no simple good/evil characters; in one scene you will be rooting for Crixus (Manu Bennet), the next cursing him. The same with John Hannah‘s excellently played Quintus Lentulus Batiatus, at once a business man you want to succeed and also an absolutely ruthless swine ever screwing over the (admittedly binary) hero, Spartacus (fantastically played by Andy Whitfield). Lucy Lawless, back in the arena of Ancient Rome, but in a role of a very different social strata and Peter Mensah are as ever brilliant.

And what about all that sex? Well, it can’t be said that they haven’t made at least a passing representation of homosexuality – there is a very unambiguous scene between two men who are in a stable long term relationship (!) and a very brief girl/girl shot (no, not a whole scene), but the latter is merely a servant ‘warming up’ Lawless’ character for the hetero sex scene that follows.  Is this an unfair lack of representation? Probably not, historically, and I still give the program kudos for the loving and non-promiscuous gay relationship — even if they do, predictably, both die.

Here’s a site with some more pictures of Spartacus, plus behind the scenes footage, interviews and the official trailer for the show:

Ok, I confess. Between starting this post and finishing it I watched the last three episodes. Superb ending, pro-watch.

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