Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"i sometimes desire to be alone"

"i sometimes desire to be alone"

every fiber screams to pull away
and all that I compose stumbles outward
but I unconsciously move towards others

it is as if every turn is decided
resisting and fulfilling some fate as
every fiber screams to pull away

the shreds of myself are caught in the wind
cycling in the atmosphere I hate it
but I unconsciously move towards others

freedom is an oxymoron unable
to resist movement and complexity while
every fiber screams to pull away

how can you be free while tethered to the world
i conspicuously act against nature
but I unconsciously move towards others

someone marks out my text as i claim
what little is left for the taking
every fiber screams to pull away
but I unconsciously move towards others

Sunday, November 16, 2008


If I could work at desks like these, life would be beautiful. I've been researching spaces a lot for my master's project, and I've decided that in order to have a nice life and succeed, I need a beautiful desk. It's where the work gets done.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Dagger ------

Here are some haikus...


He pushes it in me
as my hymen breaks open
and I lose my Self.

The paintbrush works along
the hard surfaces of your flesh
colouring your soul.

We girls work as one
saving the world from doomsday
fighting the evil words.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Theme Songs

So, the other week I was hanging out with some dear friends when I was posed a questions somewhere along the lines of: Would you rather always hear a theme song running through your head when you walk or have spotlights on you that reflect your mood? Being the person I am, of course, I opted for the theme song, and as of late, I have been thinking about music quite a bit. So then the real dilemma started—which theme song? I mean there are so many to choose from and I love TV so finding one was going to be hard. I mean thinking about this really got me. Of course, we mentioned quite a few that I would say make the complete nexus of my themes songs—at least for this moment. But of course…before then, there are the iconic ER and Law and Order non-verbal themes that are quite popular, and oddly enough I happen to have both of them on my ipod. And there is also the Friends theme, which I would be hesitant to necessarily claim as my own since I never really liked the show all that much.

Anyways, so I think I’ve sort of put it down to three show theme songs that I love and I think represent me in this present. However, I would also think that I wouldn’t necessarily like to hear them every time I walk. But I do think that they are good for you to check out and take a look at. I’ve mentioned and dissected some lyrics and imbedded some videos.

Felicity. So, I discovered this show through Netflix, and I vaguely remember seeing an episode when it was on air on the WB. It has now become one of my top 5 shows and is one of the few shows that I actually own. I’ve worked my way through the show 2 and half times…currently working on Season Three. The show also introduced me to quite a b it of some beautiful songs, and thus, I honor it as one of my own themes.

Written by JJAbrams
Can you become. Can you become. A new version of you. New wallpaper. New shoe leather. A new way home. I don't remember. New version of you. I need a new version of me. New version of you. I need a new version of me.

Short and simple and sweet. I like it because it attests to the fact that I am everchanging and evolving. I also like the ethereal quality of the first two seasons. Very "aural." I feel as if I'm in a cool trance a little bit. When it switches over in the 3rd and 4th season, I love the scenes they show because they come from some of my fav episode. And, I actually really like the Twilight Zone episode, which apparently everyone hated.

Of course then there is the iconic, Golden Girls, which I think is actually one of the first songs that I ever learned besides those nursery rhymes. When my cousins used to babysit me, and I was 5 years old, I remember sitting in my uncle’s recliner and watching the show with them. Not to mention the countless nights in high school that my family spent watching it right before Designing Women came on.

Thank you for being a friend / Traveled down the road and back again / Your heart is true your a pal and a confidant. / And if you through a party / Invited everyone you ever knew You would see the biggest gift would be from me / And the card attached would say thank you for being a friend.

And now, Cheers. Perhaps a little weird since I’ve maybe only seen three full episode, which at the time Iliked. I don’t really know if I would like the show, but I came across the theme song on an info website recently and I totally loved the lyrics.

Making your way in the world today takes everything you've got. Taking a break from all your worries, sure would help a lot. Wouldn't you like to get away? Sometimes you want to go Where everybody knows your name, and they're always glad you came. You wanna be where you can see, our troubles are all the same You wanna be where everybody knows Your name. You wanna go where people know, people are all the same, You wanna go where everybody knows your name.

I think this song really fits with my life right now. It’s all about my friends and all about comfort. I couldn’t have made it these past couple years without them. Shoulders to cry on, friends to laugh when, women to dance with. Ah, good times. I also really love the color and the mix of the old and new in the theme.

So, what are your theme songs?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sestina: To Michael's Hunger

I mentioned in my first blog that I would hope to include other people's writing in my blog. Well, I finally found something I was particularly moved by.

This sestina was written by a dear friend, another MG.


"To Michael's Hunger"

My day is chaos:
I had to skip lunch,
all I have to eat is cheese,
and that won't suffice until dinner.
Do I have take-out menus?
Maybe I should just drink.

It's 2:00, is it okay to drink
away my thoughts of chaos?
Or should I just eat this menu?
Why would anyone schedule lunch
so early and make dinner
so late? So here's to cheese!

No fromage and crackers, just cheese
and wine--the acceptable drink
for any time before or after dinner,
and is this really chaos
or the absence of lunch?
I don't like anything on this menu.

Is there sanity on one of these menus?
Hot guys, prozac, and cheese--
that would have been a great lunch
followed by a pretty stout drink.
I could have forgotten about the chaos
and even had the same thing for dinner.

What should I do for dinner?
I'll order from this menu--
food to fight the chaos--
French fries and burgers with cheese
and an espresso to drink.
That should make me forget lunch.

Tomorrow I should remember lunch,
and have a light healthy dinner,
then I can go out for a drink,
somewhere with a good cocktail menu.
I should throw away this cheese
and ignore my thoughts of chaos.

I should not drink my lunch
or have chaos for dinner
and not eat menus or old cheese.

By another MG

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Response to The Waves by Virignia Woolf

"It was a pretty boring day," said Michael. "There was lots of self-reflection and sleeping. Northing actually. Just voids of time spent doing things. Things over and again. Things done before, things done now, things to do later. Abstractness personified. Personality erased and abased. Tons of thinking about life and experiences. Lies to the self and to others. I can't believe I told my mom that I was having a good day. It was more of an average day. I did this and that. Nothing special. Nothing every really that special when it is all just the routine. Can anything ever stand out from a routine."

"Get up, sit down, move around. Actions repeated over and over again with little to no concious deliberation. Sadness, happiness, interest, and boredom all on this mathematical wave expansion table that the computer in the brain moves around and around on the x-y axis grid of my conciousness. Feel this, feel that. Cold, hot, anger...where does all of it come from? Why does looking at the window produce this feeling of loneliness and sterility inside? I can't create the world around me. I can't create anything material, just words on the page, words on the screen, words in my head, words in conversation. The condensed nature of my production swings laboriously over and around my thoughts."

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Web Art from the Cabinet

Everyone should check out this awesome web-art feature on the Cabinet's website. It's called "There There" by Jackie Goss. It's very informative, and the graphics are kinda awesome.


I hope you enjoy and feel free to post your favorite factoids. Mine happens to be: "In a map of 1900 you see the Philippines tucked under California" or maybe "Henry Garnett, chief cartographer and pizza lover, chooses 'souvenir'--a font he recognizes from Pizza Hot menus."

I never really think about space or place really all that much outsides of wanting to find places to go out for vacation. But in reading this, I remember a really interesting West Wing episode where some people tried to convince Leo or Sam that the United States should back this organization that wanted to redraw the map of the world. We very rarely think about the world at large in a geographical sense...or so I think. Although of course as of late we have been obssessed with ecological issues. Look at films like Wall-E or The Happening.

There really is such a large space out there, but it is seriously dwindling each day. We are not only losing space and resources at an alarming rate, but we are increasingly destroying the Earth with our horrible habits. How many times have we kept the lights on too long? Wasted food? Or abused our access to gas and water? In ecofem, I remember reading an article about how women in some countries walk five hours a day to reach available water sources.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Banning Bullying

Why is New York such a cool state? Answer: Because its Republican State Senators introduced a bill into their state legislature attempting to ban bullying in public schools. Key element to the bill: gay, lesbian, and transgender students would be protected under the bill because it will protect students and teachers of all sexual orientations and genders. Awesome.

Alan Van Capelle, the director of a pro-gay New York agency, said, “In a Queer Eye for the Straight Guy [and] Will and Grace world, kids are coming out at a much younger age,” he said. “As a community, we have done a woefully inadequate job of protecting them.”

I totally think that this is awesome that New York is doing this, and I hope that soon many others states will catch on. To me, this says that there are parts of America were progress and education have reached the minds of individuals. However, as per course, there are some issues with the bill. It won't be voted on at today's session, but hopefully, they will vote on it in the near future.

I personally remember a kid/possible friend/acquaintance from high school who was treated horribly at school because of his orientation. The worst of it was during P.E. one day when some other students threw rocks at him, which was just absolutely horrible and explains why I took extra-credit courses outside of school to make up for my in school P.E. credit. Maybe someday this won't happen to children. Maybe one day societ will be able to realize that we are all just people and that treating others with such disdain for no reason is not necessary.

For more about this legislation see the article in NY Times:

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Secret Life of an American Teenager

Because of DVR, I was lucky enough to catch a marathon of the first six episodes of ABC Family's new television show, Secret Life of an American Teenager, and of course, it wouldn't be a typical summer without latching onto some weird television show that I will indubitably not end up finish watching once school starts. Of course, the big "secret" is that teenagers have sex and that you can get pregnant the first time that you have sex. Wow! I didn't really know that those facts were that secret.

Monopolizing on the rather public pregnancy of Jamie Lynn Spears, ABCF decided to jump on the disturbing "new" trend of redefining "family values." Every episode is followed by a PSA about preventing teen pregnancy, however, it seems the only way to deal with it is to get married and have the kid (uh, disgusting). Of course, I was overly thrilled at the idea that Amy, the main "pregnant" character might actually succeed in getting an abortion. I mean, since the first episode, the word was mentioned and the seed planted. However, I should have known that a network with "family" in the title wasn't going to allow sweet teen Amy to actually follow through with it. This weeks episode was the final straw. She actually made it into the operation room of the clinic after being bombarded by a pro-life, evangelical ex-cheerleader and her new boyfriend who wants to marry her and make everything better. The naivete of half the cast is so lame and sort of passe when it comes to TV drama.

The redeeming features of the show, however, are Molly Ringwald as Amy's mom and India Eisley (quite the newcomer) as Amy's sister. While Molly Ringwald is playing the opposite end of her 80s roles, she does a pretty good job of acting like the adult version of her former roles, sometimes. India often steals the spotlights from the other characters of the show. The dry delivery of her lines seems to make her acting style seem raw and lame, however, her quirky lines and forward-thinking sensibilities outweigh her own childishness concerning her inability to understand adult relationships. And before I forget, I have to mention Francia Raisa as Adrian (the school's resident bad girl who enjoys sex and quite frankly may have the best lines of the show so far) and Amy Rider (Ben's friend and resident romance/sex statistician who seems to know more about sex than those two dudes from Loveline).

So, what is Amy's way out of this pregnancy? Well so far her options are abortion (which is probably a no-no), marrying Ben (which is lame and shouldn't happen), or getting together with the baby-daddy (which will probably happen for ratings and plot twists). Ah, conventional television.

But what really bugs me is that ABC Family won't just give her the abortion. Doesn't that happen in families? Is every family so story book? There are no gay families on the network. It seems as if the most they are willing to do is have inter-racial families (that are because of a foster agency not because of choice). (While I'm not an expert on the whole network, I'm pretty sure my statements are true, and if not, I apologize.)

Anyways, I'll keep watching it for a while, and who knows, maybe like Gossip Girl, a follow-up might appear in the future.

One Of The Places Where I Want To Live...

I was perusing the NY Times site, and I often like to look at the pictures that accompany ads. I was so excited when I came across this one, and I was even more excited to see that this house was actually in Rhode Island, a place that I have always dreamed about moving to. And by dream, I mean think about a lot and know that it probably won't happen. However, if I had enough money, I would totally buy this place (after Mt. St. Michael, Mt. St. Michel, and the Biltmore...although I technically think this house would be the cheapest).

The house is named Clingstone, and it sits in Narrangensett Bay of RI. It was built by the Mr. J. S. Lovering Walton and Mr. William Trost Richards in 1895. It was eventually purchased by Henry Wood, a distant family relative in 1961 for only $3,600 dollars. Since then, Wood has made the house practically a completely green house with solar power, seawater composts for water, collecting basin for purifying rain water, etc. So yeah, that makes the house completely great...but I want it because it looks so beautiful. I can just see myself sitting at a window typing on an old school typewriter thinking of my youth traveling abroad.....

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Paris Running For President

I actually love this video, and I don't see why I wouldn't vote for her. Haha!

See more Paris Hilton videos at Funny or Die

Running Red Lights

I hope that the following link does not ever die out there in cyberland:


The above link is to an article by Chris Rose, a writer for the Time-Picayune in New Orleans. Of course, my native city is quite the interesting place...especially as of late. However, Rose's condemnation/critique of the city's adoption of this week's national fad is quite poignant and hilarious.

I guess I love the part "But is it really necessary to have an awareness campaign to get people to obey the law, particularly a law that everyone -- and I mean EVERYONE -- knows is the law?" since its the best (rhetorical) question Rose's article poses.

This article should also be read by every Tulsan, since that seems to be quite a huge problem here as well. In fact, I think its more of a problem here than back home where speeding is the real issue.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Girl With a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer

Time for some art talk.

I recently watched the 2003 film based on the 1999 historical novel by Tracey Chevalier based on the painting by Johannes Vermeer (circa 1665-1675). I was really moved by the film and touched by the rather personal performances of Colin Firth as Vermeer and Scarlett Johansen as the maid and subject of the painting, Greit. The film also sported a rather early cameo by Cilian Murphy, and of course, no one other than the Tom Wilkinson played the weird villain-patron. I haven't read the book, but after watching the film this time, I am quite tempted to make it one of my many upcoming purchases.

Wanting to know more of course, I perused wikipedia and imdb.com for a chance of finding out more about the film, but it wasn't until researching the book that I came across this great website: . To put it simply, I was kinda amazed by this guys in-depth study of the painting and had some of my own thoughts, of course. This is his website <http://girl-with-a-pearl-earring.20m.com/> if you are interested in this painting and want to know much more than I do about it or will be able to write about in the rest of this blog.

What really stirred me was the comment that Vermeer's (aka Colin Firth's) wife said when she was finally able to get her greedy eyes all over the painting, which is that it was "obscene." So maybe there is a lot more going on in the novel/film that I can figure out because I don't exactly see how that painting is obscene. It a portrait of a fully clothed girl. Is it some class thing? Is this way too poor girl not supposed to be sporting these pearls and glossy fabrics?

It's just kind of interesting that this is now one of his more famous paintings because supposedly it was never sold during his lifetime is apparently moderately different from more of his other works. Jonathan Janson says that we know the less about this painting than any of Vermeer's others, which is just how this works of course (the one you really want to know the most about is the one its too hard to find information on). Some people call this painting the "Dutch Mona Lisa," and I kind of find that appropriate since there is something quite enigmatic about her. What is she looking at? Why capture just her? In a lot of Vermeer's other's paintings, you see the workroom studio he used (and which is captured brilliantly in the film). I wander how much of Chevalier's speculation/Griet's lines in the film about the chair making the model feel trapped influenced this painting. Is that why she is painted with just the background? To give her more freedom. Is she the pearl? The expensive symbol of virginity, vanity, and femininity...
I rather like what Arthur Wheelock writes, "As this girl stares out at the viewer with liquid eyes and parted mouth, she radiates purity, captivating all the gaze upon her. Her soft, smooth skin is as unblemished as the surface of her large tear-drop shaped earring - like a vision emanating from the darkness, she belongs to not specific time or place. Her exotic turban, wrapping her head in crystalline blue, is surmounted by a striking yellow fabric that falls behind her shoulders, lending an air of mystery to the image." (taken from Janson's website).

However, there is also something quite critical that can be said about her dress and the pearl. Some of the stirrings of Orientalism and the fascination with the East. Apparently, Vermeer owned quite about of Turkish materials, and the turban was quite a commonplace headdress in paintings (see Jan van Eyck's Man With a Turban, 1433).

I think what moves me most about this painting is that it demands the imagination rather than controls it. Unlike some paintings like say Starry Night or La Grande Jette, with Vermeer's Girl you have to use your own mind and imagination to see what is going on underneath the surface, to see what is being expressed on the canvas. All that we have before us is this girl looking at us, but it is up to the viewer/us to create the rest, whereas with other paintings, with so much material presented for the viewer, commands the mind rather than allows it to move more. I hope that makes some sense.

Peace out.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"Inspired by The Blood of Fish"

"Inspired by The Blood of Fish"

As I look down, I see the blood
surrounding the women and the solitary fish.
A voice speaks within my body
telling me to accept in the pain
because grief would make it easier for them to swim.
Even better, it allowed me to become the artist and paint.

She steps off the page, dripping in paint.
Walking slowly around her friend’s body,
she wonders why there is a fish,
and she begins to realize that it is harder to swim
within the cavity of blood
than to walk over the bodies writhing in pain.

The artist’s brush has entered her body,
Causing torment, anguish, and pain.
He not only created but used his pen to swim
within the concave self smothered in blood,
a sacred space that should be untainted by paint
or the presence of this rude fish.

She moves slowly toward the fish,
not enjoying the walk as she would a swim.
Not prepared for the movement, she slips on the paint.
The solitary figure inspects her body,
and notices that her friend is in pain,
a single soul not subject to death but still gurgling life’s blood.

The artist observes, realizing that his pain
can no longer control the movement his figures of paint
make as they exist on the field of blood
squirting forth from the veins of the lonely fish.
The soul enters in the body
of the broken, walking girl as if on a summer’s swim.

The creator looks like a lifeguard saying, “You cannot swim
in that curious liquid known as blood,
which will only cause you such pain
and heartache because of the rape of my brushstrokes and paint!”
He gazes upon the now inanimate woman and the dying fish
and realizes that his own soul is bound to the canvas like her body.

He realizes that she, the subject, has a body,
superior to his and not suspect to the nature of blood
because she exists, unlike him, within the medium of paint.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Follow-up on Gossip Girl

So having now seen all of the first season of the CW's Gossip Girl, I'm sadden to report that since Serena's little brother, Eric, came out of the closet, he was only given one line in the season finale...something lame about the wedding (having been skirted over in the penultimate episode in which Serena's secret became exposed). Anyways, this blog won't be wholly devoted to how I was just a tad ticked that the show is ignoring its great gay plotline, rather, it will be on their new rather aggressive ad campaign for season two. Perhaps we could claim that the campaign is a little desperate, but I'd rather claim that its ingenious. But maybe that's because I love brooking disappointment and I like transgression.

The above image featuring the letters "OMFG" was part of the advertising for the final three episodes of season one. Of course, the Christian right, who I guess happen to be watching this show for entertainment value, as well as a number of other conservatives, seemed to think that the above ad was quite offensive. I mean really? According the Parents Television Council, the ad campaign was perhaps a little too mature for tweens, teens, and adults. I mean inserting the word "fuck," or rather its variant "fucking," between an already pretty blasphemous phrase, which takes the Lord's name in vain, seems rather brilliant.
Although this ad only inserted the letter "F" between the letter "OM" and "G." Surely what they really meant was "official meeting facilities guide" or "Ophelia Madeline Fabrizio Guido" or "Ohio Milling and Farming Group." Regardless, I loved the ads and wasn't really offended by them. Of course, I can handle TV-MA more than the average TV-goer I'm sure.

So, what I find even more completely amazing is the ad campaign in response to the original controversy. Taking some of the most outspoken and heavily critical reviews of the show, the advertisers thought that they would take the most "severest" criticism to plug the show and make it sexy.

I think it works rather effectively, but of course, you should judge for yourself. I wouldn't want to influence you too much. Of course, my favorite would have to be the one on the rather delicious Chuck Bass because undoubtedly he is "very bad for you."

I think its great to take your severest criticism and turn it against those who gave it to you. It's the best form of appropriation.

So, I don't really know how you feel about these ads, but I like them. I'll surely be tunning into o season two. And for those of you that will also be tunning in, I have some spoilerly fun via Ausiello...it appears that Serena and Nate will be having some action going on in the Hamptons, the locale of the season opener; however, it hasn't been disclosed whether or not this wonderful connection will be in a dream sequence or in the real world. Also, prepare for a NYC blackout in episode three that will apparently have Serena and Blair fighting over a flashlight. And what's to come of little Jenny. Hopefully, not this lame spin-off their talking about because I really want to see her in this internship with Blair's mom...not to mention wrecking havoc on the queen bees in this new season.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Welcome to Gilead....

At first I wasn't going to write about this until a friend of mine made a Facebook post with her own personal take. Let's just say my blood curdled when I was checking the news on CNN and came across this interesting headline: "Plan calls Pill, IUD abortions." It had the little camera icon next to it, which means that it was a video. Usually, I don't watch their videos because you have to let them load and sit through some cheesy commercial, however, with a headline like that, how could I possibly pass up some fervent discussion I knew was going to stem from this already controversial headline and amazingly interesting (and quite horrifying possible) subject at hand.


What? Are you serious? So supposedly in some final act of Republican hoo-haa, the Bush administration is trying to push some bill/act through Congress that would question the scientific stances on birth--conception or implantation? To back up my already growing astonishment, I raked some other news sources and came across this article by The Wall Street Journal (thanks Callan).


After just talking to Fink about how her Catholic college doesn't cover birth control, I realized that she could potentially be buying abortions under the new regime if this legislation is being passed. Yet again, I recall conversations in Scholars', of course all in Stave's classes, about abortion and what women go through to get them. I mean, do we really want to start having hanger-wire abortions and coke-a-cola douches again? Hell no. I still am just incredibly shocked by the hubris of man, thinking that he has the right to tell a woman what she can do with her body. Really.

All of this for me is just foreshadowing many conversations to come in my 1033 class. I've already printed out several articles, and I can't wait to start presenting some of this information to students to start getting them all riled up about personal and political issues. Of course, as the title of this blog alludes to, this is nothing more than a Atwood's dystopia coming to life before our very eyes. She warned us all, and unfortunately, a lot of us aren't taking her seriously.

The WSJ articles states, "A draft regulation, still being revised and debated, treats most birth-control pills and intrauterine devices as abortion because they can work by preventing fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. The regulation considers that destroying 'the life of a human being.'" ... The article goes on a bit later, "If the draft regulation were to prompt some insurance companies to drop coverage for prescription birth control, 'that would be fantastic,' said Tom McClusky, a strategist with the conservative Family Research Council." OMG!? Are you serious? (I must hand it back over to Callan who ingeniously in her response to this posted a picture of the Duggar family, asking the question, "Is this what the American family should be like?" It wasn't framed that way, but it was along the lines of, is this what's going to happen without birth control. Of course, I don't think it would because we would still have under the counter abortions and new, ingenuous ways of aborting.)

So of course my own personal response to this issue is to want to go out and protest any possibility of this happening in our country. However, I realize that I'm probably part of a growing minority when it comes to this issues. Trying not be defeatist and wanting to flee America is not going to change the fact that continually this country is moving slowly towards fundamentalism. Sure, we haven't started bombing each other, segregating the nation, and taking away women's bank accounts, but with the way the environments keeps deteriorating, the economy weakens, and religious indoctrination continues...I just don't see any other possibility for this country. I mean I remember being in Ecofem and talking about the wars that America is going to be fighting 50 years from now over water. I mean I just can't handle it. Why do we have to impose religious beliefs, fuck even scientinfic beliefs onto others. I don't remember there being all of this hoo-haa when Lamarck (I think that's his name) was fucking up the agricultural life of Russia. Sorry for the mini-rant.

So what can we do? Callan says we should wish that Stevens doesn't drop dead and that Obama wins so that he can put more Democrats on the bench, but is that all we can do? No. We have to continue to educate others and show that having an abortion is not evil. Abortion is an option, and let's face it, sometimes it can be the best option. Should we keep bring babies into a world that would rather rip itself apart than live in harmony? Why is it that people feel the need to have their own biological offspring, is it some biological imperative or is it a hegemony that we have already bought into for so long we can see our way out of it?

Integration 2008

Thank Beamish for this blog.

Having been sent a video link the other date about sex without condoms (how ridiculous a thought, honestly)....I started to peruse NPR's website. Those of you who may not know, will soon find out through confession that I'm not overly fond of NPR, if only for the fact that when I'm driving in the car I tend to be screaming too much or singing beautifully. I tend to get my news from other sources. That, however, is besides the point.

Surprise, surprise when I actually read that a Mississippi school held their first inter-racial prom in 2008. OMG! 2008, 2008, 2008. I mean seriously. It's been over a hundred year since the Civil War and over 40 years since the Civil Rights Movement. I thought that least we could have achieved since then is integration. Apparently, I was wrong.


Read the above link for more on the prom.

(I must also add at this point, that this blog is heavily influenced by my recent viewings of The Great Debaters and my absorption in all things Toni Morrison and this new found book (thanks Hall) by Octavia Butler, Kindred.) (I'm also sort of really upset that I haven't been able to watch more of this "Black in America" stuff on CNN. I think it's really very fascinating and its just got my blood boiling.)

So, it has to go on record that I am the most liberal person and my family and that I was particular shunned from most family gatherings because I would not admit that white people are better than black people...okay, so it didn't go down like that, but I felt that it did. Everyone in my family is obsessed with race. Sure, we live in the South, but I think it's time to move past that. I was recently in Jersey visiting a friends, and rest assured, there are racists in the North. But really, what is a school holding their first integrated prom in 2008.

The weirdest thing about the blog was how it nonchalantly dropped in that Morgan Freeman was a local from this Mississippi town who wanted to sponsor an integrated prom for years without any success. Wow! If Morgan Freeman wanted to have sponsored Ehret's prom, we would not only have accepted, we would have demanded he be there to get down with us. As Karen says speaking for Morgan Freeman, "I gotta bad feeling about this."

So all of this has my thinking about a lot of things. Like when Stave and I were at the conference in Louisville and one of our (yes, I guess I'm a professional now that I've started teaching) colleagues was talking about post-race issues at Emory. How students actually that race was a moot point when discussing African-American literature of the 20th century. Wow! Really. And then there is this kick ass CFP that Kate had me working on for TSWL about how can we conceive of race beyond nation or family. I mean seriously...my mind was blown away. How can you think of race that way? And then of course, there was that really awesome dynamic conversation I had with Courtney about African-American inspirational sports dramas.

I just think it's really sad that at this point in time we are still struggling with integrations when what we should we really be struggling with is equality. I find it horrible that races can't even interact together in some places because of ingrained socio-economic hegemonies and because of this weird propagandist mis-education of American youths and individuals. Race is one of the founding principles of our country (according to Dr. Means). If it wasn't for different races, America wouldn't be the same. Well, to be honest, sometimes I wish America wasn't the same. Why do we (here insert Americans, I include myself here) have to hate one another so much? I really do wish sometimes that America could be a better place, and I think to myself sometimes that it can be if we makes steps to make changes.

The recent Robert Redford movie ripped to shreds because of its dealings with this war we are at has this really interesting message embedded within a class room scene. Perhaps a little too overly didactic, the students, Derek Luke and Michael Pena, propose that there is one way American can becomes better, which is start practicing what we preach and start living in the other's shoes to see what we can do to actually improve the quality and equality of life. For instance, they claim that instead of having a junior and senior year of high school, students should be forced to live in one of the 500 poorest neighborhood in America, or to work from Green Peace in foreign countries. Could you imagine if students actually had to do that? I wonder how many would resent it, but I also wonder how many people would be touched by a possible epiphany they would have when they realize that the systems are in place to keep people down. To keep people broken.

A work colleague just mentioned to be in passing the other day that what made the original Star Trek show rather progressive was the writing not the technology or shooting of the show. She mentioned that their Earth was a place where there was no hunger, there was no war, and there was no racial separation. Maybe it really will take us another 1,000 years before that happens. But I sure hope it doesn't.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oklahoma's Heterosexism

On July 17, 2008, the Tulsa World published the following article on their website:

"By Law Not a Hate Crime"


I originally saw this article in print while working in the reference section, however, quick to turn to the computer to see what the community's feedback would be, I ran a quick search of the Tulsa World's website to find the article copied in full. However, I noticed something rather peculiar about this article. On the right hand side of the article, there is a continuously updated box for most commented articles. I had noticed this box before when searching for an article about a friend's apartment fire. (PS-I was completely shocked by what some Tulsans had to say about the fire and the people of the neighborhood, not that I wasn't equally shocked by want some locals from back home had to say about that NOPD officer speeding across the CCC.)

Anyways, I thought it was so weird that David Schulte's article on this supposed "hate crime" would not allow readers to leave comments. I was partially shocked because I wanted to see what people had to say, and also, I was shocked because I felt that I should have something to say. Having experienced quite an awkward two weeks last semester trying to teach my students some "homosexual" literature (if there is even such a thing), I was not surprised that Tulsa would have such hideous hate crimes (home of the race riots of 19-teen-something). Hatred abounds everywhere. However, I was just shocked because for all of its faults, Tulsa is a really cool city sometimes, and I know that there is quite a gay population here. Also, Tulsa is home to one of the largest GLBT community centers in this area.

So just when I thought it was safe to get married and adopt, I read about what happened to Robert Stotler and his partner. I felt sorry for them, but I also felt scared for myself. Is this going to happen to me? How will I be able to deal with this? I've never been one to take kindly to neighbors (I've yet to meet any of my neighbors in the apartment complex I'm in for almost a year, and on Beehan, I had Laura...). But could I live in a community where everyone hated me because of who I am? (This fear was also (re-)sparked by watching Stephen King's The Mist, which I watched last night and recommend for all to watch.)

Fear. I was once told by Stave that a lot of gays feared what would happen after the Civil Rights Movement because they felt that after African-Americans, the WASP-y right would come after them. Low and behold, its happening. This is why sexual orientation should be protected under the constitution and federal laws. The article mentions that few wish to report because of fear of being fired or exposed. And that just a shame. I should fear getting fired because I suck at my job not because of who I suck off.

My hat is off to Stotler and his partner. They are brave men. I know that I couldn't live in this part of the country for long, and sad to say, but I am already looking for a way out. I hope they catch these criminals and they serve time (not that redeems anyone). Until then, I guess we have to hope that America and Americans can be better than they have been in past and they are right now and that one day Americans won't have to fear and hate others because of their sexual orientation.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Could a Four Year Old Paint That?

So, I've been working on this blog for a while, and I've just gotten around to finishing it. Like I said in the opening, I knew that my posting would be erratic. Maybe now that school is coming around the bend, I might post more regularly since I will need to find ways to procrastinate. I also think I have some ideas to post more.


I watched this really awesome documentary the other day that really had me thinking about aesthetics and forgery and creation and the personality/identity/construction of the artist. Amir Bar-Lev's My Kid Could Paint That showcases the rise of infant painter, Marla Olmstead.

I think two of the most important questions that the film posed (and that it left rather open ended for all intents and purposes, which I find is a good thing) are the following:
1) Is art about truth or about lies? (Especially when displayed for the public eye/consumer)
2) Is the story that a painting tells the story of the artist or of the painting?

What slowly develops from this neat, little documentary about an avant-garde prodigy is this sick, twisted interrogation of truth and lies and art. Is Marla the real painter behind the beautiful canvases that are marketed under her name? Are people "buying" (into) the Olmstead's ruse? It becomes rather clear to the filmmaker, who at about twenty minutes into the film, starts to realize that he has not been able to actually film Marla painting at all. [Aside: Before showing her paint, there is a scene with her in the bath tub, in which she puts four lines on the wall and calls it a purse. Child's play or genius imagination or both?]. The filmmaker prods her on the subject, asking her to paint for him, and at several points, he asks the parents to get her to paint. It culminates in the placement of hidden cameras and the filming of one canvas that is certainly painted by Marla albeit a very different type of painting. (The difference is hard to describe with words but is definitely noticeable to the eye.)

Marla's father, Mark, was an amateur artist for years, and like any good parent, (along with the mutual support of his wife), he "enabled" Marla's gifts for painting. They definitely treat her like a child, and it is clear that the mother attempts to protect Marla. However, want to talk to a 40 year old. They sell her first canvas for $250, and her parents said if it would have ended there would have been happy. Yet, the dad secretly books shows behinds the mother's back and wishes/dreams that Marla can get a show in Europe....selfish, much? Could the father perhaps be painting Marla's canvases? It does become very strange when you see him giving her directions on which colors to use and how to move the brush. In fact, he's a constant presence in her painting. Mark has to be there to help her set up. She couldn't just go off and paint. (She would be painting the walls. Why, does she need to be told to paint on the canvas? Is she inherently desiring to do this or being directed to?) Why does she need help really? He's on the phone making plans, while she's being interviewed and saying how she makes joint decisions and then they show him in the house with people filming her painting (yet she is painting a canvas all one color). Mark constantly asserts that this is not normal.

"She reacts differently when the cameras or around."

Is Marla being manipulated?
Certainly the answers to this question enter into the film-maker's mind as he has this on-camera dilemma. He wonders why he cares and about the ethics of film-making? Does he have a truth that he must uphold? And if he does, why doesn't Marla or Mark or Mamma Olmstead (whose name escapes me).

By watching Marla in this video, and the video of her painting that the family markets her and her genuine-ness, makes her in some sense inescapable because you are caught up in these representations of her paintings and her painting, even if some of them are fake and some of her actions are rehearsed. And in some senses, isn't that what art is doing, asking you to come and be a voyeur? To suspend belief and believe lies?
For me, a lot of how I feel about this film and concept is wrapped up in that previous questions and in a comment that the mom says towards the end. "We've put our selves here." It's quite the double entendre. Not only have they littering created the idea Marla as the artist, they have also helped to create her art. Perhaps my prejudice comes out here, but I really don't think that she painted most of those canvases alone. Surely she painted them, maybe started all of them. But finished them? I'm highly suspect of her involvement. Would it really be the first time that a parent has manipulated their own child to gain status or money or achieve personal ambitions?
Surely art is about the suspension of disbelief. Even realism, the most realistic of the real, asks us to use our immagination, to believe lies, to believe truths, to use representations and symbols that have been created for us rather than by us. But could a four year old paint that? I say a heavy maybe, leaning towards no. But who am I to say?

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Gossip Girl (and the Gays)

With numerous reruns crowding the television channels that I watch, I finally segued into an old, favorite station that I've abandoned in recent years--the CW, which was once the glorious WB. Thanks for a wonderful recommendation from a dear friends (shout out to Fink), I found myself watching a rerun of Gossip Girl on Monday night. Catching the season in mid-stride--I was actually watching the Christmas episode--I had no idea what came before or after this rather interesting episode. Of course, the first one I happened to have seen was missing the two of the three reasons I was watching the show. Michael Ausiello, TV Guide's amazing gossip boy and columnist, recently revealed via the Paley Festival that one of the three main male characters was going to be thrown out of the closet when the show's new episodes air in a few weeks. In a desire to see more gays on television, I thought I would scope of the terrain created by the show and check out these possible gays. Two of the main male characters did not happen to be on the show that night, which then led to me to finding full episodes online. Tuesday night arrives, and I ended up watching the only four full episodes that on the CW website.

Well, it looks like they might be some interesting prospects and possibilities as to who will be outed in the near future. Immediately stepping back from the Gossip Girl show, I became obsessed with trying to find out about ever-diminishing population of gay characters on television. So, here is a quick run through of what I watch and what I know: Queer as Folk, The L Word, Will and Grace, Ellen, Brothers and Sisters (one main, two minor characters), As the World Turns (two minor characters, not the whole show) ... [I can't go on any further than this because of something that I think is really interesting.]

Surely there must be more gays on television, you ask? We've all been in theatre, dance, and music departments on campus. To say homosexuality was in vogue would be an understatement. Is it that the gays are more attracted to the stage (i.e., the rather notorious thanked partner at the Tony's rather than lover/spouse at the Oscars) than they are on celluloid? Well, as a matter of fact, there are a number of homosexuals acting in Hollywood, except that a large majority of them on television seem to be playing heterosexuals. [Here, I would say my flair for hyperbole should be evoked since I only actually know of two prominent examples.] Why is it that some of the more prominent members of the gay Hollywood elite aren't playing homosexual characters? Why are people hiding behind the sex-crazed Barney (Neil Patrick Harris on How I Met Your Mother) and the adorable nerd George (T. R. Knight on Grey's Anatomy)? And why is that heterosexuals are playing some of the great homosexuals out there--Brian Kinney (Gale Harold), Will Truman (Eric McCormack), Jack MacFarland (Sean Hayes)?

The reason why I find the need to expound upon this is because of some of my recent viewings, in particular Jennie Livingston's documentary, Paris Is Burning. Watching the film suggested to me that there is a facet of culture (transvestites) that truly epitomize the idea that gender is a construction. In their desires and dreams to be more "heterosexual," the drag kings and queens of the documentary demonstrate that everything under the sun--from sexuality to class to intellect to gender to identity--is about performance. Of course, Judith Butler states all of this rather high-handedly in her works/essays that I've read, and while I've understood the concept for some five years now, it is only recently that I beginning to understand the impact it might have on me and the culture that I inhabit.

Therefore, does it matter that gays or playing straight and straights are playing gay? Yes, it does. Even though it is all about performance and everything we do is about creating and performing who we think we are, I think by passing as heterosexual is somehow inherently false, and I apologize for perhaps not articulating this a bit more clearly. And the very fact that prominent and recognized shows with a major homosexual theme are being canceled disturbs me. Was the cultural swing into accepting homosexuality, particularly of the male variety, via the hot metrosexual male about to shift in the other direction? Unfortunately, I feel that it already has. Look at the number of canceled and failed shows that highlight homosexuality--Queer as Folk, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy/Girl, Boy Meets Boy (which only lasted one season), The L Word (with only one season to go), Will and Grace, and the abysmal, Lifetime failure Gay, Straight, or Taken. It's almost as if those shows that highlighted or fore-fronted homosexuality is gone or about to leave the television screen. Are the gays doomed to reruns (at least of syndicated television)?

I don't have to answers, but I would at least like to return to the first subject--Gossip Girl. Show likes this seem to be doing fine. Heterosexual love and intrigue have always worked well in the entertainment industry, and I think this show does a fine job hooking an audience. It's refreshing to see a show where the primary couple doesn't break up every week to sustain a season worth of episodes. I certainly recommend the show to those still nostalgic about high school, those slightly romantic, and those who think that being an adult makes things easier (because it doesn't). However, I wonder if this show is emblematic of the show for the new 21st century, where the romance and relationships of the adolescents parallel the adults and gays are relegated to a minority?

Enough ranting, peace out.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Getting Started

So, I don't really think that this blog is going to have much of a theme or a purpose to be honest. I think it is just going to be a reflection of a lot of my thoughts and ideas concerning identity, sexuality, literature, culture as it appears within my life, reading, and general viewing space.

For those of you who know me, this will also just be a general doorway or window view into my life if you happen to be far away and we don't get to see each other everyday or even if you happen to be in the same city and want to hear more about what I have to say. Not that I generally think what I have to say is all that important, but I do think it could quite possibly be significant. One day.

Introducing the name and the idea behind the blog--

A. S. Byatt, general genius and amazing contemporary writer from Britain, has this awesome quartet of novels that I think generally defines some of my ideals and aspirations. I want to be someone who went to Oxford, acted in a famous play, taught college classes on the Modern Post-War British Novel, loved numerous interesting men, and perpetuated intellectual television culture. What else to say, a fantasy. Anyways, generally amazing and insightful into so many interesting facets of contemporary life, Byatt espouses this particularly interesting theory of life as lamination. Understanding that humans are all fragmented creatures--divided between our desires and what we actually are, our sexual selves and our intellectual tendencies--Frederica Potter, one of the Quartet's central characters theorizes this idea of lamination, of living life laminated (see Appendix I).

So, this blog will hopefully be a realization of Byatt/Frederica's theory.

However, I would also just give a general warning to those interested in reading this blog that I am generally suspect of journaling and blogging. I hope to write in this space continually though to keep those of you out there interested entertained and fulfilled by reading my rants and thoughts. And maybe every once in a while we will have guest writers and creative entries. Who knows?

Appendix I: Frederica Potter’s qua A. S. Byatt’s Theory of Lamination

Byatt, A. S. The Virgin in the Garden. New York: Vintage, 1978.

Frederica is thinking about Freud, Racine, and Alexander after a sexual encounter with a stranger: “But, if you kept them separate. If you kept them separate, in many ways you saw them more truly. […] One could let all of these facts and things lie alongside each other like laminations, not like growing cells. This laminated knowledge produced a powerful sense of freedom, truthfulness and even selflessness, since the earlier organic and sexual linking by analogy was undoubtedly selfish. It was she […] who had linked these creatures to each other out of her own necessity. The whole problem of selfishness and selflessness was odd, since seeing things either separate or linked felt like an exercise of power, which she had been most ambiguously, by her father, taught to eschew theoretically and pursue in practice. She sensed that the idea of lamination could provide both a model of conduct and an aesthetic that might suit herself and prove fruitful. It would, she decided, as in the event it did, take years to work out the implications” (209-210, italics mine).

Byatt, A. S. Babel Tower. New York: Vintage, 1996.

“And she, Frederica, had a vision of being able to be all the things she was: languages, sex, friendship, thought, just as long as these were kept scrupulously separate, laminated, like geological strata, not seeping and flowing into each other like organic cells boiling to join and divide and join in a seething Oneness. Things were best cool, and clear, and fragmented, if fragmented was what they were. ‘Only connect,’ the ‘new paradisal unit’ of ‘Oneness,’ these were myths of desire, the desire and pursuit of the Whole. And if one accepts fragments, layers, tesserae of mosaic, particles. There is an art form in that, too. Things juxtaposed but divided, not yearning for fusion” (315).

“Frederica is an intellectual, driven by curiosity, by a pleasure in coherence, by making connections. Frederica is an intellectual at large in a world where most intellectuals are proclaiming the death of coherence, the illusory nature of orders, which are perceived to be man-made, provisional and unstable. Frederica is a woman whose life appears to be flying apart into unrelated fragments […]” (380, italics mine).

Byatt, A. S. A Whistling Woman. New York: Vintage, 2002.

“Frederica had an image of her several selves, the child, the woman, the mother, the lover, the solitary, tangled like coiling snakes in a clay pot, turmoiling” (17).

“She had had the word, Laminations, before the object. It referred to her attempts to live her life in separated strata, which did not run into each other. Sex, literature, the kitchen, teaching, the newspaper, objets trouvés. She did not put Leo into Laminations, not because he was not part of her fragmentary life, but because he was not fragmented” (41).

Alice, he said, is the Victorian child putting together the wild world of grown-up rules and hidden intentions and violent feelings and incomprehensible conventions. She is an English empiricist, said Frederica. She doesn’t get baffled or deceived or disconcerted. She is sure she exists, however, she is stretched or shrunk or told she is a Serpent” (141).