Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Bulletproof" by La Roux



I don't know why--there is no real reason to explain it--but this video sort of got me through working out this morning. I discovered La Roux as a Discovery Download one day on iTunes. I was so impressed with this single, "Bulletproof," that I ended up buying her album. [If you're worried that I relapsed LT, don't be. I bought this about two or three months ago.]

I really like her play with cubism and geometric shapes in the video. Also the color! Well, this video came on VH1, and after watching the video, I switched from my regular work out mix to her album. I had done a couple miles at the track listening to it. This morning it just sort of motivated me. I only wanted to do 30 minutes on the elliptical because that is the length that you can stay on the machines. Well, the CD kept me pumping, and I stayed on longer--against the rules of the UREC.

Here are the lyrics to the video above:

Been there, done that, messed around
I’m having fun don’t put me down,
I’ll never let you sweep me off my feet,
I won’t let you in again, the messages I’ve tried to send,
my informations’ just not going in,
burnin’ bridges shore to shore, I’ll break away from something more,
I’m not to not to love until it’s cheap,
been there, done that, messed around,
I’m having fun don’t put me down,
I’ll never let you sweep me off my feet,

Chorus:
This time maybe,
I’ll be,
Bulletproof x2

I won’t let you turn around,
and tell me now I’m much too proud,
to walk away from something when it’s dead,
do do do your dirty WORST come out to play when you are HURT,
there’s certain things that should be left unsaid,
tick tick tick tick on the watch and life’s too short for me to stop,
Oh baby, your time is running out,
I won’t let you turn around,
and tell me now I’m much too proud,
All you do is fill me up with doubt,

Chorus:
This time maybe I’ll be bulletproof x10

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Artist of the Day: Willem De Kooning


We've just been reading Susan Bordo's Unbearable Weight in my WGS course. That, coupled with my research on Grey Gardens, helped me to discover a new artists--Willem de Kooning. I had heard the name and seen a couple of his paintings. I was really interested in how his paintings really went along with our topical discussion of body images. I wish I had found him just a week or two earlier. This image to the left is Woman III.









I don't know why he started painting women. I couldn't find a detailed enough of an answer in the amount of time I devoted to researching this blog. The little bit wiki had to say was the following: "De Kooning had painted women regularly in the early 1940s and again from 1947 to 1949. The biomorphic shapes of his early abstractions were derived from objects found in the studio. But it was not until 1950 that he began to explore the subject of women exclusively. In the summer of that year he began Woman I (located at the Museum of Modern Art, New York City) [and to the right], which went through innumerable metamorphoses before it was finished in 1952."

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Random Genius

My friend over at To Someone Likeminded posted this link on her blog the other day to Random Sentences from the Virtual Academic Lab.

Well, here was my FB responses:

Post #1: This is amazing. I can't stop creating sentences. I see a blog post coming soon.

Post #2 (seconds later): This kind of saddens me after being amazed briefly. Is this saying that all we really do is Mad Libs when we create new thoughts. That our work is nothing more than jest or game. ???

Well, I am still mulling over this idea. I do think that it is a neat site and generator of thoughtful discussion. But is it? I am still questioning all of this.

Can productive thought be produced by the random generator / mad-lib-esque-ness of the virtual world?

The epistemology of praxis invests itself in the systemization of the public sphere.
The emergence of normative value(s) may be parsed as the authentication of print culture.
The culture of consumption functions as the conceptual frame for the historicization of pedagogical institutions.
The fiction of the natural invests itself in the fantasy of agency.
The poetics of post-capitalist hegemony may be parsed as the systemization of power/knowledge.

You get the point.

I am trying to think about this more and more through the lens of Elizabeth Grosz's work, Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Real Space, which I am reviewing for class. I wonder if there is this sense that the virtual allows us understand things more clearly, or blatantly. But one thing she returns to again and again is that we somehow tie the virtual with the technological, and we need to reconsider and (re-)understand how the virtual is part of the everyday. We occupy a virtual space in real space. It is not just something that is created in the world of the Internet.

I send you out into the ether.

Friday, October 30, 2009

HIV

I was just on Twitter, and I was kind shocked to see that "HIV" was a trending topic. So, curious me checked it out. It looks like Obama is lifting a ban that prevented people with HIV/AIDS from coming into America. I didn't even know such a ban existed. And I feel kinda retarded for it. Such blatant discrimination going on in America. Anyways, that's neither here not there. The reason I wanted to quickly blog about this was because of the outrage coming out of the twitter community. So many people seemed pissed and one even said Obama was stupid. Well, I applaud Obama for taking this step. Here's a snippet from an article at Huff Post:

In 1987, at a time of widespread fear and ignorance about HIV, the Department of Health and Human Services added the disease to the list of communicable diseases that disqualified a person from entering the U.S.

The department tried in 1991 to reverse its decision but was opposed by Congress, which in 1993 went the other way and made HIV infection the only medical condition explicitly listed under immigration law as grounds for inadmissibility to the U.S.

The law effectively has kept out thousands of students, tourists and refugees and has complicated the adoption of children with HIV. No major international AIDS conference has been held in the U.S. since 1993, because HIV-positive activists and researchers cannot enter the country.

Obama said lifting the ban "is a step that will save lives" by encouraging people to get tested and to get treatment.


I think this is a step in the right direction. In class yesterday we actually talked about the term "equality," and what it meant to my students. I didn't realize that the very next day we would see an act of equality working in action. I think we need to realize that people that are affected with this disease are not horrible people. (One twitter comment said people should stop sharing needles, but this directly overlooks that HIV is something that people develop for a number of reasons besides needle sharing or high-risk sexual behavior.)

I think this is a step in the right direction because it is acknowledging that people with AIDS and HIV are citizens of a global community. This is a disease that needs to end!

ACTUAL REALITY, ACT UP, FIGHT AIDS!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Lee Krasner


Shattered
--
I have been reading a lot of the Hamptons while conducting research on the Beales. They always refer to themselves as artists (Little Edie is the dancer, Big Edie is the singer). Well, I picked up a book called Hampton Bohemia to see about some of the artwork coming out of the time period and what not. I've always been a really big fan of Pollock, but for some reason, it had escaped my mind that his wife was also a painter. Lee Krasner's work is amazing! I have started finding some pictures of her. I wonder if there has been an academic study of the hidden women painters behind the famous men who have found their ways into museums and homes around the world.
--

White Squares
--
I was particularly fond of this image below, Noon. I think the color is so vibrant, which is so interesting to me when juxtaposed against many of Pollock's paintings that use a lot of black, dark colors. I think she really captured something in this painting. It's named after a time, but for me it really captured this emotion of squishy-ness that I feel after I eat a big meal. It makes me feel very satiated. Not sure where that just came from, but the truth will out, right?

Blah

I don't know how but my class devolved today into me showing "The Count Censored." It was like the only thing I could do to grab their attention.



Really, is 9 am that early? I mean, I know it is a struggle, and I don't really like it all that much either. But give me a freaking break.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

{Characters}

The need for selection means that every story contains, and is surrounded by, blank spaces, some more significant than others. When we create a fictional world, our decisions include geography, or setting, but also where and when a narrative begins and ends, who it involves and who it doesn’t, which actions and conversations are deemed worthy of inclusion and which aren’t. In a surprising number of novels, the characters are effectively jobless; they have been granted psychic vacations from work by the author. Their occupations might be named, but they have no employers, no colleagues, no pressing work-related obligations; which is to say, they live in a world very different from that of most readers.

Turchi, Peter. Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer. San Antonio, Texas: Trinity University Press, 2004. 42-43.

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Gender Possibilities?

This is a similar fantasy to the idea of the mall as a space in which you can shop around for another identity.

But you can't. At the mall, all you can do is use its social spaces, including cyberspace, as supplementary augmentations of aspects of your identity. This is perhaps a minor augmentation, not really as radical as some proponents of virtual identity might claim. You don't become a woman by adopting a female identity in cyberspace if you are a man in real space. Cyberspace has been seen as the site of a certain cross-dressing, or swapping of identities, that can only be phantasmatic and supplementary. But while entering cyberspace does not make the man a woman, it may make him see other possibilities for being a man.

--from "Embodying Space: An Interview with Elizabeth Grosz." by Kim Armitage and Paul Dash. Architecture from the Outside: Essays on Virtual and Real Space. 22.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Grey Gardens Clip



I rewatched Grey Gardens the other night for some note-taking, and today, I am watching the movie with commentary. I am so excited to be dipping back into this movie--my favorite documentary. I am finding out so much. Here's a clip from the beginning.

Music

I had this dream the other night that people actually became more cohesive and unified because of and through music. Chuck this up to too much positive thought (I really need to read Ehrenreich’s new book, Bright Sided) or perhaps way too much GLEE, but I really think that music can bring us together.



I started singing the Beatles’s song “Come Together” in class the other day, and my students were receptive to the idea. We were doing a sort of informal mid-term evaluation of the class, and so discussion was sort of all over the place. At some point, I deformed into “True Confessions” moment and started talking about this dream I had.

It was of a society that was completely devoid of art. So I was sitting in this huge college auditorium, and this envoy from our world was there and was projecting film titles that she was going to transport into our collective unconscious. Well, she started singing, and people in the audience were shocked—beggging her to continue. Really weird, I know, but it was a dream?! Anyways, music actually, literally brought together people in my dream. Students started singing, and people would gather around this minstrel voices roaming the campus. People cried at the beauty of music. People danced the rhythms of the body.

Maybe GLEE is finally starting to get to me. But I really do think that music is such a unique force in society. I don’t know where this was really going, and I’m not sure what I got here but …

Monday, October 19, 2009

In the introduction to Primate Visions, Donna Haraway states that she will use “potent verbal and visual images” to show how primates have been manipulated by human culture to explore relationships between numerous binaries such as nature/culture and sex/gender (2). For Haraway, the symbolic and the real figures of primates become a vehicle to explore these rigid binary distinctions because, as she claims, “Primates existing at the boundaries of so many hopes and interests are wonderful subjects with whom to explore the permeability of walls, the reconstitution of boundaries, the distaste for endless socially enforced dualisms” (3). Haraway’s inclusion of these (visual) representations of primates further elucidates the connections between visuality and the construction of knowledge, yet her inclusion and erasure of certain images leaves me wanting more. Juxtaposing Palmore’s Reclining Nude, a poster created by the Guerilla Girls, and the absent/false image of Carl Akeley’s triumph, I will demonstrate the ways in which Haraway’s argument can sustain itself and erase itself, and by creating a continuum—or rather a triangular relationship—of these images, I aim to show how Haraway’s visual element falls short of producing her desired attempt to make bitter these “enforced dualisms” by forefronting a discussion of absence/presence in these images and their contexts.



“Primatology is Simian Orientalism,” a major segment of Haraway’s introduction, is the only subsection that features a visual image—Tom Palmore’s Reclining Nude. Haraway writes, “Sex and the west are axiomatic in biology and anthropology. Under the guiding logic of these complex dualisms, western primatology is simian orientalism. [Figure 1.1]” (10). This is the only introduction or context for Palmore’s painting. Conceivably, this could be a stylistic move. If “sex and the west are axiomatic” in certain discourses, it is only logical that this statement is suggested in Palmore’s painting according to the text. Yet, the absence of context to this painting suggests pure presence; it just is nothing is needed to buttress its inclusion in this section. Turning to Marx’s phrase—“They cannot represent themselves; they must be represented” (10)—allows for a connection between Orientalism and primatology and the insertion of Palmore’s Nude. The primates cannot represent themselves in art, and thus humanity must do it for them. As a result, Palmore’s painting is “axiomatic” and sheer presence marked only by the absence of context and description.

In contrast to this image of Palmore, I turn to Haraway’s chapter on “Teddy Bear Patriarchy” and more specifically on her discussion of Delia Akeley’s biography of her husband. The discussion and presentation of Delia’s Jungle Portraits is marked by an absence in a similar way that Palmore’s work is marked by presence. Of importance here is the absent photograph of Carl Akeley’s restored morale, a photo that is a lie or hoax perpetuated by Delia: “Delia produced a biographical effect at odds with the official histories; she showed the messiness behind the ‘unified truth’ of natural history museums” (50). Haraway’s investigation of this image seems to compliment her discussion of truth/fiction—another important binary she explores—and yet its “absence” from her text is marked by the complimentary contexts and analysis of its perpetuating lie concerning manhood and adventure. This photo remains a lie/hoax in Delia’s text, but Haraway shows the way in which it discloses a fact: “The accompanying photos in the archive suggest a version of reality, a biography of Africa, which the Museum and its official representatives did not want displayed in their Halls or educational publications” (50).

Palmore’s Reclning Nude and Delia’s absent photo are two instances in which Haraway’s text perpetuates this binary distinction between absence and presence. By including Palmore, Haraway engenders and creates a certain truth/lie—that of the axiomatic West—whereas with the Akeley she creates a lie/truth—that of Museum culture’s purposeful elision of reality to produce particular forms of masculinity. By introducing a third term into this binary distinction I have highlighted in Haraway’s text, I would like to show how the Guerrilla Girls’s poster, Get Naked, uses the binary of absence/presence to be “especially productive and especially problematic” and in so doing complicate Haraway’s binary (Haraway 12).

Get Naked first premiered in 1989 on NYC buses after being rejected as a billboard commissioned for the Public Art Fund. In ways that Haraway’s text and images cannot do, this poster manages to rupture distinctions between absence/presence and truth/lie. The inclusion of the gorilla image on the head of Ingres’s Odalisque creates a fiction. Likewise, the Guerilla Girls “assumed the names of dead women artists and wore gorilla masks in public, concealing their identities and focusing on the issues rather than their personalities.”5 Thus, the Guerilla Girls enact a fiction, and by seizing hold a slippage in language that occurs between the connections of gorilla and guerilla, they are able to “productively” use the image of the primate to further their cause and agenda. This can be contrasted with the factual, which is represented in the words of their poster. In this single, consolidated space, the Guerilla Girls are able to create an absence and presence that marks out the way in which the female body is ever-present—in the form of the nude subject—and absent—in the form of female artists.



By acknowledging how extremely “productive” the Get Naked poster is, I also acknowledge how “problematic” this poster and the position of the Guerilla Girls can be. In fact, this co-opting of the image of the gorilla resembles an Orientalist approach, in which the dominant position uses the subordinate position as a resource for/of power. Thus, the Guerilla Girls can easily adopt a gorilla/guerilla identity because of their position of power over primates and as academics or art critics. Also, the use of the mask and the creation of fictional identities shows how “mobile” the Guerilla Girls can be (Haraway 10); anyone could wear a mask. This position and poster, then, uses the primate in a way that is at once “popular, important, marvelously varied, and controversial” (3). While they are making an audience aware of a deficiency of female artists in museums, they do it at the expense of the gorilla.

Haraway’s inclusion of arresting images is important because it shows how our visual representation of primates has shaped the discourses of primatology and humanity. The silent distinction between absence/presence in Haraway’s text stands in contrast to the poster because of its use of image and text to correspond to one another, something that is lacking in the two Haraway “images.” By introducing a third term—the Guerilla Girl’s poster—into the continuum of Haraway’s images, we can see how Haraway’s exploration of binary opposition creates another one between absence/presence that is elided in her inclusion of the Palmore and Delia’s photo. Haraway’s text and images rely on binaries in order to be presented; thus, her work can be critiqued for the binaries that she overtly overlooks or manipulates in order to explore the primate’s liminal position.

Friday, October 2, 2009

"On a Sailing Ship"



"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do, than by the things you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream."
-MARK TWAIN

Once again I have cracked open A Year in Art. Today's picture is "On a Sailing Ship" by Caspar David Friedrich, painted 1819.

It reminds me of this amazing quote by Foucault about ships: "the boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed in on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea and that, from port to port, from tack to tack, from brothel to brothel, it goes as far as the colonies in search of the most precious treasures they conceal in their gardens, you will understand why the boat has not only been for our civilization, from the sixteenth century until the present, the great instrument of economic development ..., but has been simultaneously the greatest reserve of the imagination. The ship is the heterotopia par excellence. In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the form of pirates." (from "Of Other Spaces")

Thursday, October 1, 2009

If It Be Your Will

I was watching this documentary recently called Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man. This is a cover of his song “If It Be Your Will” by Antony Hegarty. I thought this was just a really amazing song.



Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a video on YouTube that let me copy the original video from the documentary. I did find this video instead, which is very interesting. I think there is a bit of La Chien Andolou in there.

Leonard Cohen, for those of you who don’t know, is a Canadian singer/songwriter and poet. His most famous song is probably, “Hallelujah,” which has over twenty covers.

Here are two poems:

I Wonder How Many People in This City from The Spice-Box of Earth

I wonder how many people in this city
live in furnished rooms.
Late at night when i look out at the buildings
I swear I see a face in every window
looking back at me
and when I turn away
I wonder how many go back to their desks
and write this down.

Poem 111 ("Each man ...") from The Energy of Slaves

Each man
has a way to betray
the revolution
This is mine

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Bust Your Windows

Lea Michele can sing, but I still think this was the best moment in Glee so far.



Amber Riley can belt it out. I can't wait until the soundtrack comes out in November or whenever it is supposed to come out.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Girls on the Run

Dearest, we had waited for this star,
the marriage couldn’t take place without it. A louse
drags its lonely way up to the end of a porcupine quill, expires,
and can we have heard anything? I mean the paced breathing just outdoors,
and then inside, it’s just squalid and quiet,
nothing more, I have a bowl of cherry soup.

These halls, when the rush of spring is echoing, far ahead,
collapse into tendrils, their decor foreseen
since the dawn of history. One can walk across them, and time suddenly
seems funny, stops, is dead, or mute. And prisoners come begging
for a primrose, or a shaft of sunlight, and the all-seeing sees them
and averts his gaze until tomorrow. Thus, our doom, ringing with half-realized
fantasies, is a promise of a new beginning on another continent.
Only, we must get out of here. A man stands by a cactus, counting
the flecks of rage as they pass by and you are in another suit,
abashed, a dapper salesman today. And the volley of the shooting gallery
vies with the welter of jarred complacencies, multiple over time,
if time wishes: “Lacrimoso, our sport is behind us!
Lacrimoso, we can’t get anything done!
Lacrimoso, the bear has gone after the honey!
Lacrimoso, the honey drips incessantly
from the bough of a tree.”

Worse, it was traditional to feel this way.


Ashberry, John. Girls on the Run. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. 1999. 10-11

The Crossings

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Do You Believe In Me?

A most amazing public speaker. That is exactly how I would describe Dalton Sherman. You can see rhetoric at work in the speech of this Dallas public school student. I was so motivated by this video that I blurted out at the beginning of class to my unknowing, much-too-sleepy, and completely shocked comp class, "I believe in you!"



It was so weird because Sherman talks about something so simple and yet so complex. We sort of got into this last week when talking about feminist teaching and the de-centering of authority in the classroom. Are there ways to avoid it? One pessimist in class just kept harping on the fact that we still have to turn in grades at the end of the semester/year and that no matter what this is an authoritarian position we will never be able to escape. (She even decried my methods of my equal power as silly. As if letting students grade themselves will allow them to learn anything. Well, wouldn't they be able to learn how to evaluate others?)

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A September Playlist

Some music for your enjoyment!


1. “September” by Earth, Wind, and Fire



2. “Wanted” by Holly Brook
3. “Bite Your Tongue” by Duncan Sheik
4. “Tulsa” by Rufus Wainwright



5. “September Baby” by Joseph Arthur
6. “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas and the Papas
7. “Dear Prudence” by The Beatles [I know this isn't the Beatles's version, but this is my favorite song in the movie. I couldn't hold back from putting on here.]



8. “Fallen” by Sarah McLachlan
9. “Little Details” by Mason Jennings
10. “We Don’t Need Another Hero” by Tina Turner
11. “Pavlov’s Bell” by Aimee Mann

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

1 + 1 = 2

When you like one thing and you add that another thing that you like, you can sometimes get something that is twice as great.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sookie? (Creepy...)



I can't believe tonight is the last episode of True Blood for this season. It seems to have gone by so fast. I can't wait until next season already. Here's a creepy video I found on YouTube for you to enjoy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

For All You Fans Out There

So, I kept seeing the Ponyo movie times when checking for other, better movies to see. When surfing the net the other day, I found this excellent video from Funny Or Die. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

And the Oscar Goes To






When people think about all of the work that goes into movies, they rarely think about all of the pre-production research. For the most part, I would hypothesize that everyone thinks it’s all about the writers, actors, producers, and directors. Of course nods are given to production and design at Oscar time. Well, Harry Potter has yet to win an Oscar, and I do wonder if they are going to hold out and do what they did for the LOTR series, which is give awards to the last film rather than the earlier ones because it is a series-franchise-thing. I’ve been thinking about this because I came across these awesome links/images/documents that I want to share today. I’m officially casting in my ballot for Nicholas Saunders and the design team behind Weasleys’ Wizard Wheezes.










Thanks to the Creative Review, which I think is an online magazine of some kind, I was able to view the images created by Saunders and others concerning the joke shop. Here’s what Saunders says, "I worked in the graphic design department for the film under the watchful gaze of senior graphic artists Miraphora Mina and Eduardo Lima – and alongside fellow assistant graphic artist Lauren Wakefield," Saunders explains. "It was just the four of us who created packaging for this
particular set but this work here is just the stuff that I personally designed.” […] “I was briefed to work on the Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes originally," Saunders continues. "I was also asked to come up with a number of names for more products (such as Anti Gravity Hats) to adorn the shelves. Then after the product names were approved and cleared I used the names as a base to start the designs. When the boxes were ready they were printed on mass up to 400 then they were placed on boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Then after this stage the set dressers took them to fill three storeys of shop shelves in the shop on the Diagon Alley set.”

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Advent of E-Mail

Jami: Okay, you know at the end in the tower when Dumbledore tells Draco that he once knew a boy who made all the wrong choices. Well, before I assumed he was talking about Voldemort because of his speech at the beginning on the first night of school. But that doesn't really make sense rhetorically. I mean, Draco would think Voldemort made the right choices. So maybe this is really obvious and I'm just catching up, but I think he was either talking about himself or Grindewald. Perhaps this doesn't matter at all, but I wanted to share.

Me: I think this is great, and I do think that he was talking about himself rather that Grindewald. He had once made all the wrong choices (in his past with Grindewald which had consequences for his family) before he realized that there was a way out, which is what he would have wanted Draco to know.

All-seeing commentator: AMAZING! Way to use grad student skills.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Sincerely, Jane

Because my last post on Janelle Monae was so popular, I thought I would capitalize on that success and post this video of her performing “Sincerely, Jane” live at the Filmore. I know that Progress’s blog written by Beamish mentioned some stuff about Monae, and one of the comments was about this particular. I compared this song to Pink’s “Dear Mr. President” because of the lyrics and the rhetoric behind the song.



Here are some lyrics for you to consider: (they are not the entire lyrics)


Left the city, my momma she said don't come back home
These kids round' killin each other, they lost they minds, they gone
They quittin' school, making babies and can barely read
Some gone off to their fall, lord have mercy on them
One, two, three, four, your cousins is round' here sellin' dope
While they're daddies, your uncle is walking round' strung out
Babies with babies, and their tears keep burning, while their dreams go down the drain now

Are we really living or just walking dead now?
Or dreaming of a hope riding the wings of angels
The way we live
The way we die
What a tragedy, I'm so terrified
Day dreamers please wake up, we can't sleep no more

Love don't make no sense, ask your neighbor
The winds have changed; it seems they have abandoned us
The truth hurts, and so does yesterday
What good is love if it burns bright, and explodes in flames
(I thought every little thing had love but uhh)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Voice and Exit

“The idea that the mutuality or asymmetry of a relationship can be measured by the relative capacities of the parties to withdraw from it has been developed extensively by Albert O. Hirschman, in two books written many years apart. In his 1970 book entitled Exit, Voice and Loyalty, Hirschman makes a convincing connection between the influence of voice by members within groups or institutions and the feasibility of their exit from them. There is a complex relation, he argues, between voice and exit. On the one hand, if the exit option is readily available, this will ‘tend to atrophy the development of the art of voice.’ Thus, for example, dissatisfied customers who can easily purchase equivalent goods from another firm are unlikely to expend their energies voicing complaints. On the other hand, the nonexistence or low feasibility of the exit option can impede the effectiveness of voice, since the threat of exit, whether explicit or implicit, is an important means of making one’s voice influential.”

Okin, Susan. “Vulnerability in Marriage.” The Feminist Philosophy Reader. Ed. Alison Bailey and Chris Cuomo. New York: McGarw-Hill, 2008. 600-621.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Gin Blossoms

So this was supposed to be me tonight:



However, I am at home reading Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and texting Laura and Jami instead. While seeing the Gin Blossoms would have been money, I think my teachers will be happier with me getting work done today. I managed to read quite a bit.

I figure my skipping out on this concert will be made up with seeing Mat Kearney in October, which I am so excited about!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Body Politic

"Nature is only the raw material of culture, appropriated, preserved, enslaved, exalted, or otherwise made flexible for disposal by culture in the logic of capitalist colonialism. Similarly, sex is only the matter to the act of gender; the productionist logic seems inescapable in traditions of Western binarisms. This analytical and historical narrative logic accounts for my nervousness about the sex/gender distinction in the recent history of feminist theory. Sex is 'resourced' for its re-presentation as gender, which 'we' can control. It has seemed all but impossible to avoid the trap of an appropriationist logic of domination built into the nature/culture binarism and its generative lineage, including the sex/gender distinction" (Haraway 198).

"Is there a connection between this state of mind--the Cold War mentality, the attribution of all our problems to an external enemy--and a form of feminism so focused on male evil and female victimization that it, too, allows for no differences among women, men, places, times, cultures, conditions, classes, movements?" (Rich 221)

"But for many women I knew, the need to begin with the female body--our own---was understood not as applying a Marxist principle to women, but as locating the grounds from which to speak with authority as women. Not to transcend this body, but to reclaim it" (Rich 213).

"Every person is at the center of his world, and circumambient space is differentiated in accordance with the schema of his body. As he moves and turns, so do the regions front-back and right-left around him" (Tuan 41).

Haraway, Donna. "Situated Knowledges: The Science Question in Feminism and the Privilege of Partial Perspective." Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature. New York: Routledge, 1991. 183- 201.

Rich, Adrienne. "Notes Towards a Politics of Location." Blood, Bread, and Poetry: Selected Prose, 1979-1985. New York: Norton. 210- 231.

Tuan, Yi-Fu. "Body, Personal Relations, and Spatial Values." Space and Place: The Perspective of Experience. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1971. 34-50.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Haraway Rocks!

I have been meditating over this reading I have to do for class this weekend. Donna Haraway is at once so completely confusing and so amazing! I have never been so absorbed in theory in quite some time.

Here are some points that stopped me for a while and that I wanted to share:

Weeding out science (186) - "We unmasked the doctrines of objectivity because they threatened our budding sense of collective historical subjectivity and agency and our 'embodied' accounts of the truth, and we ended up with one more excuse for not learning any post-Newtonian physics and one more reason to drop the old feminist self-help practices of repairing our own cars" (186)

I think what H is saying here is that even objectivism became too subjective because post-structuralism and postmodernism showed us that "objectivism" is a ruse. So we reverted backwards (?) instead of learning something fundamental about this. If we can't escape a location/rooted ideology, where are we if we wish to question this and other past positions?
"Feminists have to insist on a better account of the world; it is not enough to show radical historical contingency and modes of construction for everything. Here, we, as feminists, find ourselves perversely conjoined with the discourse of many practicing scientists, who, when all is said and one, mostly believe they are describing and discovering things by means of all their constructing and arguing" (187).

VERY IMPORTANT PARAGRAPH - 187 - "We need the power of modern critical theories of how meaning and bodies get made, not in order to deny meanings and bodies, but in order to live in meanings and bodies that have a chance for a future" (187). ----

I think here H is talking about how we need the multiplicity within the "local knowledges" in order to recognize the plural in the world at large. We are not looking for some grand key to unlock it, we are looking for the maze (path)? We are already in the room.

I can't wait to talk about these topics in class so I needed to share them now. Yes to education!
I know I haven't posted in a while. Things should be getting less crazy soon.

I just sort of reconnected with a friend the other day. I found this poem that she sent me when she was in this uber-cool feminist's class, Jane Gallop. I hope she doesn't mind me posting this.

Enjoy!

"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.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tropic Thunder and District 9

Yesterday while I was waiting for my brother to get to his apartment, I decided to see District 9 at the local AMC. Well, I thought I would be in for a wonderful treat because I was overwhelmed by all of the great acclaim and reviews that I had been hearing from multiple sources about the film. I love science fiction and genre-bending film/fiction, so I was pretty stoked to see the film. 40 minutes into the movie, I was less excited and more vomiticious. I was mired in motion sickness because of the jumpy camera. On the verge of illness, I abandoned any pretense of watching the rest of the movie (I already had closed my eyes for about three minutes and that didn’t help).

This rather painful and awkward experience was later counteracted when I finally watched Tropic Thunder, a movie that I had promised F I would watch almost a week ago and never got around to doing. F was right – hilarious. My belly laughter would have been quite amusing to anyone else watching the movie with me. I especially liked the acting of Robert Downey, Jr., who by far stole the show. Tom Cruise’s character was quite interesting. Like G.I. Joe, I was shocked by the sheer amount of cameos in the film. Totally not impressed by Jack Black or Ben Stiller. I think I will probably avoid such satirical films for a while (satire and I don’t always get along), but I am happy that I finally watched the movie. I love how it opened up with fake movie trailers (something I mentioned in a previous blog).

Hopefully one day, I will be able to rent District 9 and not throw up because I will be able to pause the DVD.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Apathy and Motivation?

I’m stuck. I don’t know what to write about. So many things are wrong (I think).

I just watched Julie and Julia, which I thought was fabulous. In it, I love how Julie Powell creates/finds the motivation for her blog. I also like how my friend’s blogs have clear purposes.

I think the Gemini in me is keeping me from finding something and sticking with a particular topic. I have been sort of fueling this blog with some of my interpretation of Byatt’s lamination. I sort of wanted this blog to act out some of those idea(l)(s) because I find myself adrift so much. I’m not very religious and my existentialism often gets criticized so many others for lameness that I keep it to myself.

I wanted this past summer to be about getting more professional, about working on getting published and being more academic. In the end, this was one of the laziest summers I have had, and all I feel like doing lately is crying because I miss my friends, I feel alienated from my brother, and my house is such a wreck that I have no place of solace. I got into a somewhat huge argument/fight with my brother earlier, and I am just so frustrated by everything.

And then on top of that, I just don’t know what to do in terms of my reading and writing. I want to read, but I don’t know where my books are. I start school in a week and feel no motivation to start new projects. I think my writing is suffering because I can’t conceive of what to do to sustain a coherent argument for 30 pages.

I think the two seasons of Six Feet Under that I am working my way through are making me a little paranoid, too. I need something a bit more light hearted I think. This show is just so heavy. I look forward to watching Tropic Thunder, which Fink has adamantly demanded that I watch as soon as possible. So maybe in a day or two I can finally see it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

snippets from various artists

So, I have been extremely lazy lately and haven’t really been blogging at all. I really need to step up my game (something a friend told me the other day). So here is a short post.

Everyone (i.e., like two people) has been sending me information about these random new artists they have been discovering, so here is some information about some new artists. Yeah!

I went to the White Linen Festival in New Orleans last weekend, and I was surprised to see a couple new artists that I liked. We barely went into the galleries because we were busy drinking and walking around. This is who I discovered: Raine Bledsoe and Doyle Gertjejansen.

Bledsoe’s work was really interesting. He/She (ambiguously gendered name, right?) worked in mixed media. I snagged this picture from a Shreveport blog. It’s of a twig person surrounded by pages from an old book. I got to see this piece in one of the galleries. Another interesting piece of was of tree made out of lines of poetry that were cut up into a tree’s shape.



The other really neat artist that I discovered was Gertjejansen. His work was very colorful, and he painted on some really large canvases, which looked really nice. I couldn’t save any painting from his site, but here is the link to check out.

The third artist, who I did managed to get a picture of/from, is Julia Blackmon. I like how her work is about domestication, but also the revelry that kids feel when they sort of break the rules. Interesting stuff.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Protest, Degrees, Byatt

“The work is horrible, Dr. Himmelblau. It digusts. It desecrates. Her studio—in which the poor creature also eats and sleeps—is papered with posters of Matisse’s work. La Rêve. Le Nu rose. Le Nu bleu. Grande Robe bleue. La Musique. L’Artiste et son modèle. Zorba sure la terasse. And they have all been smeared and defaced. With what look like organic matter—blood, Dr. Himmelblau, beef stew or feces—I incline toward the latter since I cannot imagine good daube finding its way into that miserable tenement. Some of the daubing are deliberate reworkings of bodies or faces—changes of outlines—some are like thrown tomatoes—probably are thrown tomatoes—and eggs, yes—and some are great swastikas of shit. It is appalling. It is pathetic.”

“It is no doubt meant to disgust and desecrate,’ states Dr. Himmelblau, neutrally.

“And what does that matter? How can that excuse it?’ roars Perry Diss, startling the young Chinese woman, who is lighting the wax lamps under the plate warmer, so that she jumps back.

“In recent times,” says Dr. Himmelblau, “art has traditionally had an element of protest.”

Traditional protest, hmph,” shouts Perry Diss, his neck reddening. “Nobody minds protests, I’ve protested in my time, we all have, you aren’t the real thing if you don’t have a go at being shocking, protest is de rigeur, I know. But what I object to here, is the shoddiness, the laziness. It seems to me—forgive me, Dr. Himmelblau—but this—this caca offends something I do hold sacred, a word that would make that little bitch snigger, no doubt, but sacred, yet—it seems to me, that if she could have produced worked copies of those—those masterpieces—those shining—never mind—if she could have done some work—understood the blues, and the pinks, and the whites, and the oranges, yes, and the blacks too—and if she could still have brought herself to feel she must—must savage them—then I would have had to feel some respect.”

“You have to be careful about the word masterpieces,” murmurs Dr. Himmelblau.

“Oh, I know all that stuff, I know it well. But you have got to listen to me. It can have taken at the maximum half an hour—and there’s no evidence anywhere in the silly girl’s work that she’s ever spent more than that actually looking at Matisse—she has no accurate memory of one when we talk, none, she amalgamates them all in her mind into one monstrous female corpse bursting with male aggression—she can’t see, can’t you see? And for half an hour’s shit-spreading we must give her a degree?”

Byatt, A. S. “The Chinese Lobster.” The Matisse Stories. New York: Vintage, 1993. 106-108.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Persepolis, Satrapi, The Veil

Things have just sort of fortuitously happened that we read Marjane Satrapi’s “The Veil” in my class this summer. I happen to have a female student from Saudi Arabia, and it has been really interesting to get her own perspective on issues in the Middle East that I remain uninformed of or that I have been taught to think of a certain way. One of these issues is the veil.

Satrapi is the graphic novelist whose biographical work, Persepolis, was recently turned into a film and nominated for an academy award. She is of Iranian heritage, so it has been interesting to read about her responses and reaction to the Iranian Revolution from a couple decades ago and then compare them from what I have been absorbing from today’s events in Iran.

Below is a trailer of the film. I recently watched it on Netflix, and I have to admit it is quite the gem. I really think her animation is great, and the story itself is very interesting. I like how I could identify with her so much, even though I didn’t actually experience what she did.



We read this chapter of Satrapi’s Persepolis that is in our textbook, Seeing and Writing. I have been getting students to think about visual culture this semester, and one of the units is on gender. One of the things that I think about the veil is that it so clearly marks the gender of the woman. It is the woman that wears the veil. So, it made sense to me to include this on the course schedule. At the time, I had no idea that I was going to have a Saudi Arabian female in my class, but I am so happy I did because she able to enliven our discussion of the veil and gender issues from her own experiences. I have included some images for your consideration.





My Saudi Arabian student chose to write about this chapter. Her paper was really interesting. It was basically a response paper in which she talked about things she agreed and disagreed with in the chapter. I remember in class, she couldn’t understand why the children were so angry about having to wear the veil. I had to explain that one interpretation (at least the one that I was thinking of) was that it forced these children to lose their individuality. By all looking the same, they aren’t able to be unique, which can be a big deal to children. Granted this is my own interpretation, but it was about all I had to answer her.

I just purchased the book today at the bookstore because someone used it in a 1063, advanced writing class in the spring. I would like to start reading it this weekend on vacation as soon as I finish this other short-ish novel that I have been reading rather slowly this week.

Movie Trailers

IMDB had this awesome link on the other day that I just need to write about.

IFC.com released a list of the 50 greatest film trailers of all time. Seeing this, I couldn’t help but be completely impressed by the list. I am such of fan of movie trailers. I have this idea that I think could be great, but I really don’t have enough energy to make it happen. So, here goes. I think movie theatres should have a theatre open just to show trailers. Think about it. At any given time there is about somewhere around 50-ish trailers for upcoming features circulating on the Internet. We can then suppose 2 minutes for each trailers, which would put us around 100 minutes, give or take—the same time that is the length of a typical, average movie. They could play these trailers in a loop, and you could walk in and out whenever you wanted. I think it’s genius! But that is just because I love movie trailers so much. I’m telling you, like I’ve said before, I just feed off of the anticipation.

So, out of their list of 50 movies, I have seen 36 of them (I couldn’t count one of them because it’s not out yet, but I do plan on seeing it as soon as it comes out. Trailer for it below.), and I definitely agree with a lot of their choices. Here are some of the trailers via YouTube.

Where the Wild Things Are (2009) [This is the movie that is not out yet, and I am dying to see it. The song in the trailer is the bomb. “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire. It’s making its way up my play count on my iTunes.]



Cloverfield (2008) [J. J. Abrams. Need I say more.]



Sleeper (1973) [A Woody Allen trailer. Okay, so not my favorite film of all time, but I totally understand why this made IFC’s list. Plus, it’s just interesting to talk about.]



Pyscho (1960 ) [Hitchcock spills all here.]



[This was not on the list, but I think it is so funny that in Tarantino and Rodriguez’s Grindhouse film they included fake trailers to play off of what their own films were doing. Here’s the trailer for Machete.]

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"You Cheated Me" by Martha Wainwright

You Cheated Me


So, those of you who know all about my obsession with all things Wainwright and McGarrigle, will most likely not be all that surprising. I was cruising around YouTube with some friends the other night when I noticed that I hadn’t really watch too many music videos recently. I also then started thinking about how in my writing class on visual culture, I have a day planned to talk about music videos. And I am excited about it. There was this awesome day in my pop culture class when I was a junior in undergrad when two friends came up with a music video theory. Awesome, right?

Well, I recently discovered that Martha Wainwright is going to covering some Edith Piaf songs, and I decided to check out some of her music videos. I found the one for “You Cheated Me” from her most recent CD, I Know You’re Married But I’ve Got Feelings Too. The video is so interesting, not to mention that the song is uber-awesome.

What I think is so awesome about the video is it how it uses the sofa. I mean, it is pretty hard not to miss, right? She sort of comes embedded in it, and I wonder if the sofa is a metaphor for how we become consumed by our emotions and anxiety after we discover some really bad news. The sofa is a place of comfort, and it is a place where we can get away and escape through a variety of means: conversation, TV, reading, avoiding work, sleeping.


Here are the lyrics:

I know you've got to go
And I wanted to be afraid to say
But I'm not
I'm scared to death of what you've become

You were my only ally
Now you're looking around for an alibi
Why don't you go ask your new set on the set of lies

Chorus: You cheated me and I can't believe it
I've been calling since four o'clock last night
You cheated me and I can't believe it
I saw you singing and dancing in the rain
All the way home

You left the keys in the door when you left that night
I don't wanna point the finger but I can't help it
Why don't you run your scared little ass down the block
I'll catch up to you when you come back and

Chorus

When all the bills have been unrolled
And your story has been untold
Tell me if it was worth it
To see the whole damn thing unfold

Chorus (2xs)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Playing Cards

I have been playing an immense amount of cards lately, which for me has been like a seventh heaven. It has brought up so many memories, both good and bad, of playing cards with family, friends, and roommates. I have been playing so much that I have been neglecting a ton of reading that I could be doing this summer. At this point, I'm okay not reading and sacrificing some time to be with friends. But I might need to play extreme super-speed catch up when school starts in August. But, as of now, I'm not worried about that.

We've somehow managed to play five or six different card games in the past couple weeks. We've mastered about all of them, and each of us have one that we like and tend to win in. I'm proud to say that I've reclaimed my title of fighting solitaire champ after losing it to some of my Behan roommates a couple years ago.





(This is a blurry picture of Marli, Chris, and Patrick playing some card game.)










(This is my roommate Steven. I don’t remember what we were playing at the time. But for a while we were on several canasta and fighting solitaire runs.)


















Cards are so much fun. But sad note, they remind me a lot of my grandmother, the one that currently has Alzheimer's now. I'm happy that my friends have allowed me to share her games with them so that a part of her still lives on through me. So this goes out to the friends—past, present, and future:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Slam

“While it would not work for me, and I do feel the process of classic immigration has liberated me in ways that expatriation never could, I must be prepared to accept the validity of my sister Mira’s narrative of expatriation and those of others like her. Their voices are hidden inside me, I have written some of their stories, and I grieve for them far more than I resent them—it’s a reaction curiously similar to that of most Third World writers towards the work of V. S. Naipaul. “Damn him,” I want to shout, damn his superior airs, damn his cold detachment, damn his vast talent, damn his crystalline sentences. I want him to manifest love, for just a paragraph or two, to cut loose. This does not affect my respect for his work. I want my sister to feel love for this country that she, in the depth of her heart, cannot” (222).

Mukherjee, Bharati. “Imagining Homelands.” Seeing and Writing 3. Ed. Donald and Christine McQuade. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2006. 216-222.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Class, Houses, Discussion



My students and I just spent about an hour talking and writing about this painting by Edward Hopper entitled “House by the Railroad.” I am teaching 1004 right now, and I am trying to integrate visual culture studies into writing. I choose this topic because I figured it would be something that all of my students (all three of them) would be familiar with. We look at the world around us all of the time. It is in fact one of the major senses through which we experience life.

Today’s class was just one of those days that was kind of rewarding. I met a fellow teacher in the stairwell just before getting to class, and I talked about how I feel so awkward teaching sometimes—that I talk to much, that I make a big deal out of nothing, that I am interested in the topic and my students are just little bobble heads nodding agreement. When I got to class and one of the students was not there, I was kind of shocked and thought it might be a bad day, but I was luckily rewarded with her reassuring presence.

We talked a lot about place and space because we started with the chapter, “Coming to Terms with Place.” We spent time talking about the difference between space and place, and my students were getting the really theoretical stuff that I wanted them to understand, which felt great. We ended talking about this poem by Edward Hirsch—an ekphrastic poem about Hopper’s painting. We then learned how to incorporate MLA into our writing and talked about introductions and rhetorical questions. Good discussion.

But what I was most happy about is that I started to realize how awesome Hopper is. Of course, I am very familiar with Nighthawks, his most famous painting. And this one time I downloaded some random podcasts from MOMA about him. I think there might be some research going on Hopper in the near future. What do you think about the painting?

Monday, June 15, 2009

This is exactly what I wanted to say...

Oh, my, thank you, feministing! Jaclyn Friedman is awesome.

This post is also here as a shout out to my friend, ToSomeoneLikeMinded. You wanted some activism, and while I didn't think I wanted it to, I'm starting to realize I need it. I want it. It is my desire to end oppression. To create equality. To make a difference.

Monday, Monday, Monday





Monday Monday Monday Lyrics
Artist(Band):Tegan & Sara

This week or last week
I don't really care about it anymore
I write myself this letter
I tell myself you let me go
Without me
What's wrong with you?
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Your house or mine
I don't really care about it anymore
I close my eyes
I, I make myself unhappy so you'll go
Without me
What's wrong with you
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Oh, and I
I say damn your mood swings
Damn your mood swings
Oh, and I
I say damn your mood swings
Damn your mood swings
I'm calling out
I don't really care for your city anymore
I spend the night
I lay awake and miss you when you go
Without me
What's wrong with you
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Monday Monday Monday
Oh, and I
I say damn your mood swings
Oh, and I
I say damn your mood swings
Damn your mood swings
Oh, and I
I say damn your mood swings
Damn your mood swings
Oh, and I
I say damn your mood swings
Damn your mood swings

More, More, More (I Can't Let It Go) and Spotlight on Clarkson

My friend Jesse, who actually attended to Human Rights Campaign gala in New Orleans (and whose Facebook statuses for four days were all about the gala), did not tell me that Patricia Clarkson spoke about gay rights that night. I mean, I figured that would be the topic of anyone’s talk, but I didn’t know Clarkson would be the one speaking.

I love that she included references to Williams and New Orleans in her speech. I was really excited about with my English background and all. And I know I have been harping on these topics lately, but they keep finding their way into my life. So, great quotes from the speech:

“All the violets--gay Americans, lesbian Americans, Bi-sexual Americans, transgender Americans, people of color, and the people of this city forgotten by Washington in hurricane Katrina--we are all are starting to break through the mountain of straight, white, male lawmakers in Washington.” - Oh, the might saxifrage. If only should would have used that image as well. It appears that the violets need to break through the stone as well.
“This is the age of Obama. And the people who oppose these causes need to realize that. But there is someone else who needs to realize that this is the Age of Obama. Obama. It is time, Mr. President. Do not fall behind others on these issues. My God, Dick Cheney announced that he is in favor of gay marriage. And on that very day, the National Weather Service reported hell froze over. So Mr. President, please catch up. Or you are in danger of being considered "just to the right" of a man who is "just to the left" of Vlad-the-Impaler.” - My sentiments exactly. Why is Obama so backed up on this issue? Why doesn’t he address it in his policy and discourse?

[Just as a side note, a new Tony Kushner play is about to be staged, and CNN has this great interview with him, in which he states, But [gay marriage] is really not a federal issue for the executive branch. What President Obama can do is get rid of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." That's a promise from his campaign, and he should honor that promise. Seventy or 80 percent of Americans actually support the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and having openly gay and lesbian soldiers serving in the military. So it's not -- it seems to me -- even that risky. So I'm assuming that'll happen soon. ...”]

Here’s a video of Clarkson’s speech, if you would like to see/hear more:


Here’s a link to the full-text via Huff Post.


And yet again, I return to the issue that is still troubling me about Obama. Why won’t he come out and openly support gay rights? I just wonder if all his talk was jus that. A way to win a demographic.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Time Traveler's Wife

Okay, so I know some of you have read this book (The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger), and I know some of you are going to read it shortly into the future. I also know that I've had conversations with you on whether you will see the movie, but I thought you might want to check out the trailer that was just released. I'm sure I will regret seeing the movie because I love the book so much, but I might have to see the movie. It’s one of those things I have been anticipating for so long. I haven’t figured out exactly why they have delayed the movie for so long since it finished filmed almost two years ago.

Here’s the trailer:


Also, here's a link to her new/next novel coming out soon.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Don't Ask Because I'm Telling

I know I just linked up this video/article from Huff Post on my facebook, but I wanted to write out some of my reactions. I think this is one of those things that sort of bothers me about Obama and about politicians more generally. They make promises or maybe say something about how they would like to make certain policy changes. It’s all bullshit. They are just saying what they need to say in order to get elected. I just think its crap when someone says he/she are progressive, and he/she holds onto backward ways.

I think the article is great when it snidely says, “Which is, of course, ridiculous. All "don't ask don't tell" is, is a policy by which everyone pretends that the gay and lesbian soldiers that are already serving in the military aren't really there, and that everything is okay provided that those gay and lesbian soldiers agree to participate in the Grand Shenanigan of Pollyanna Pretense.”

Why are people afraid of gays? I have been watching True Blood with some friends lately, and it is so awful to see how racists, sexist, and heterosexist people are. How closed minded they can be. Get with the fucking program. What’s wrong with gays serving in the military? When I went to London in 2006, it was the first time that gays got to wear their uniforms during the gay pride parade.





It’s harmless right. I mean, it’s not like they want to bugger all of their comrades. And if they did, would that be a problem? Why do we have to legislate love?

I have to stop typing this blog for time reasons but also because I am so angry that I feel a little incoherent at the moment.

Here is the full video if you don’t want to go to link above:

Monday, June 8, 2009

Zizek!

I found Zizek! online. Astra Taylor's quirky documentary follows the philosopher around his daily routine as he expounds upon the many facets of his own philosophy as well as his reaction to politics and Lacan among other things. I fell in love with this bit at the end. This film isn't exactly for people who are unfamiliar with Zizek or, for that matter, postmodernism and psychoanalysis. While the film does provide cursory explanations, I think it best to approach the film with some knowledge of the topics, and for that reason, I think Taylor's documentary often anticipates an educated, engaged audience. Well, I certainly wanted to read some more Zizek after watching the film. Hope you enjoy the clip!

Some friends are mine are super cool because they said they would watch some random episodes of Buffy, the Vampire Slayer that I pick out – well, not completely random but my favorite ones. Buffy got me through a lot of rough times. I know that some of my friends joke that I could reference Buffy in every single Text and Traditions class at Scholars’, but I guess they are the lucky ones (not me) since I choose not to actually do that. I am pretty sure I would have been groaned out of seminar if I would have tried.

Well, I have assembled five clips from five different episodes that I just think are so great. So, in no particular order:

1) “Selfless” (Season Seven, Episode Seven??) – Creepy number coincidence, or just numerological karma. This is a great episode about Anya and has quite the hidden gem, a flashback to the musical episode. “I’ll Be Mrs.”—Anya’s solo song—has been missing from my iTunes library for several years until I discovered it on some obscure web page. It wasn’t released with the original soundtrack, most likely because it wasn’t filmed or written yet (don’t know?) but is quite the cute song. I also think this episode is great because of its exploration of Anya that draws on comedy and tragedy, as well as some demon flashbacks.



2) “Once More, With Feeling” (Season Six, Episode Six) – Numerical coincidence again? Surely not, well, since I referenced this episode above, I knew it would be on the favorites list. Loving musicals, loving Whedon, and loving a love song ridden with gay subtext. Definitely three things this episode brings out in me. I also love it because of the moving moment at the end where (spoiler alert) Buffy reveals that she had been in heaven and not hell. It’s also just great because who wouldn’t love this quirky cast getting together and singing some great shit.



3) “The Body” (Season Five, Episode ??) – Great! Genius! I don’t really like this video I was able to find, but it will have to do.



4) “Potential” (Season Seven, Episode ??) – This episode might not be on a fan favorite list because of Dawn (which so many people seem to hate but I kinda like). I think the storyline for this episode is just great. Like my interest in “Selfless,” “Potential” takes up a somewhat-minor character, at least one who wasn’t on the show from the very beginning and highlights them as an important thread of the Buffy narrative. (See also: “Storyteller” from Season Seven about Andrew and “Superstar” from Season Four about Jonathan.)



5) “Restless” (Season Four, Episode Twenty-??) – Sheer postmodern narrative. And also a most awesome text to study semiology. I think season four might be the most underrated season of Buffy, which is just unfortunate. This final episode of the season is so amazing because of how it breaks so many traditional TV narratives. It’s a final episode, it’s a coded beginning, it’s a dream, or a magical reality?

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Echoes and Reflections

I am halfway through Byatt’s new book, The Children’s Book, and I love it. I stayed up late last night to get through some more chapters. Now, I want to stop reading it to delay the pleasure of having more of it left to read. So, to sort of fulfill that desire and to start thinking more critically about her new book – which I am finding an interesting sort of departure from her other material – I was stroke by this strand of the novel that corresponded to this movie I have recently been obsessed with, Reds. Also, how this one character Charles/Karl talks about the poor makes me think about my own relationship to the visible homeless, poor, and destitute of the streets. (Which is just so uncanny and weird. It is like all of these things in life start to echo one another. Being accosted byesperate, homeless woman and discussing it with friends. Watching Reds. Reading about socialism and current politics and how this is echoed in the Up Series. Talking with LT about the homeless in NOLA.) Anyways, here is some passages:

“[Charles’s/Karl’s] own essay had been a rather perverse, but certainly clever, demolition of the dream of the good life in William Morris’s News from Nowhere, and the kind of communities associated with it, who wore hand-printed skirts and ate vegetables. He wrote that the dream of Heave had always worried him because it was so boring – there was nothing to do – and the dreams of Heaven on Earth, going back to the land, living in vegetable gardens and little plots of flowers, with no machines to be seen anywhere, struck him as a sleepy refusal to look at real problems and make real plans about what to do. He quoted Morris against himself

Dreamer of dreams, born out of my due time
Why should I strive to set the crooked straight?

He was indeed, wrote Charles/Karl censoriously, ‘the idle singer of an empty day’ (174).

Just a couple pages earlier, Charles/Karl said to his tutor, “What I can’t see – what I really can’t see – is why everyone doesn’t ask themselves that, all the time [why are the poor poor?]. How can these people bear to go to church and then go about in the streets and see what is there for everyone to see – and get told what the Bible says about the poor – and go on riding in carriages, and choosing neckties and hats – and eating huge beefsteaks – I can’t see it” (170). Charles/Karl is rejecting the life of his banker father who is manipulating the poor and Africans through the gold trade. Charles’s/Karl’s rebellion comes through his involvement in the anarchist movement. He eventually meets Emma Goldman in Paris, etc. I haven’t quite got to a part where we will see where he ends up, but his is one of the more interesting threads of the novel because of the fact that it seems so much like a surplus for the other narratives. In many ways, his story is there for comparative reasons. But maybe it is the story we are supposed to learn so much more from. Not sure? However, maybe I should reveal some of my stupidity. Um, I had totally never though of Heaven as Utopia. Okay. Yeah, a little crazy. But I just didn’t think of it in that terminology before. And when Byatt writes about his essay and the discussion of Heaven – I was so piqued. I also find myself a little reactionary to the passage because I know so many people that I are trying to live “off the grid,” and I’ve seen so many things documentaries about these types of people (another echo – Into the Wild, Grizzly Man).

What I think is so interesting is that Charles/Karl discusses something that I have issue with in this whole agrarian throwback movement and its nostalgic overtones. By ignoring progress and the current world and reverting back to medieval, pre-Industrial life, is that really solving anything? Certainly you might escape the ills of contemporary society, but isn’t it naïve to think that you are really escaping anything. I mean these societies, communes, trailers, houses, farms are just as utopic (? Utopia-like) as Shaker communities, Edward Carpenter’s pastoral visions, or Lawrence’s Rananim. And yet, I feel that I have no real right to bitch about some of this stuff because it is not like I am living in this type of community nor am I walking the street trying to save lives. I certainly talk the talk of activism and civil liberties and working for gender equality, etc., but when it comes to walking the walk, I think my lungs are still expanding. I take a couple steps on the path but never really get too far. Am I thus guilty because I am okay with my own bourgeois status?

Right, maybe, I don’t know? It is extremely unclear to me where Byatt stands on this issue, but her characters run the gamut of positions. Whereas Charles/Karl reacts to violently against this, it is clear that one of this foils, Tom, needs this type of ignorance to avoid the pain of society – although his pain is more social and not classed or technologically related. I think in the context of the book I am poised in the middle of her discourse concerning this topic so I am interested to see where this thread continues. As of now, Charles/Karl has just met Emma Goldman and some more Russian and German anarchists in Paris. Now that he is back in England, I don’t know what he will become or use this experience, but I can’t wait to find out.

Byatt, A. S. The Children’s Book. London: Chatto & Windus, 2009.