Ji Kitani presents LaaF26... Pretty Ugly Girls


Ji Kitani presents LaaF26...

Pretty Ugly Girls

Sunday, July 25, 2010


ABSTRACT: The phrase "pretty ugly girl" can be parsed in multiple ways.  "Pretty" can modify "ugly girl" (a girl who is ugly to a strong degree) or "pretty ugly" can be thought of as a novel oxymoron both modifying "girl" (as in a girl who is pretty-and-ugly simultaneously).  In films, the pretty ugly girl is often a beautiful actress wearing frumpy clothes, glasses, and a ponytail.  Through the course of the film, the ugly accoutrements are taken away, magically leaving behind... a beautiful actress.  Although a rational being would not be entertained by such a patently transparent story-telling vehicle, we human moviegoers are not quite rational but predictably irrational (a la behavioral economist, Dan Ariely) and highly entertained by this schtick.  I will argue that the transparency of this oft-used trope is necessary for us to enjoy these films appropriately.

SPEAKER BIO: Ji enjoys reading about parasites, making metaphors about them, and telling her husband scary stories about worms growing scrotums (scrota?) and bursting out of human calves.  While lounging next to a pool in Cancun, she read Predictably Irrational (Ariely, 2008) and thought of this lecture.  She has recently learned to make pretty ugly towel hats (she's wearing one in the photo above).

Film: Funny Girl (1968)

Food: By Julie Park and Jon Yip

When: Sunday, July 25, 6:00PM

Where: KitanJi apt





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