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


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


“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


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.