Posts tagged ‘article club’

August 8th, 2012

fuckdudeskilldudes: puredisgust: WASP (Women Armed for…



WASP (Women Armed for Self-Protection) came out of feminist consciousness-raising groups, doing reform work surrounding rape such as training the police in how to properly deal with survivors.  Recognizing the problems and limits of these activities, they began moving on to more confrontational stances.  They did graffiti (“WOMEN - CASTRATE YOUR RAPIST”), urged lawyers not to defend rapists, pushed women to train in firearms and proliferated information on using guns, publicly defended women who killed rapists, observed rape trials, etc.  After a rapist was acquitted, they produced 10,000 leaflets including his name, address, place of employment, photograph, and what he had done, and leafleted his neighborhood and workplace.

An essay on the group by Nikki Craft can be found here.

suzy-x has been doing some excellent gun-blogging and it inspired me to dig this post out of my drafts folder, where it’s been sitting while I try and sort out my feelings about it somewhat more articulately than “uggggghhhhhhhhhh”

full disclosure, I have a firearms license (paid for by the university, had to get it for fieldwork safety reasons) and I do really like guns and I am definitely predisposed towards being super into this whole thing. BUTTTTT,

I feel like blacksentai’s critique of “feminist celebration of white ladies punching dudes in the face” from a little while ago is relevant & important here

(because, like, in what universe does any lady but a white lady get away with packing heat as feminist reclamation?)

I mean, they called themselves “WASP” for fuck’s sake

so, yeah, as much as I want to like this, it makes me uncomfortable and I really can’t get behind it much more than I can get behind white anarchist dudes idealizing and/or appropriating POC armed struggle, is what I’m saying


(and relevant for article club)

also 2: Tea Party Terrorists who started doing open carry to intimidate people and how there was exactly zero response from the pigs. 

July 30th, 2012

mmmightymightypeople: The first thing elena mukhina said she thought after she crashed in training…


The first thing elena mukhina said she thought after she crashed in training and she’s lying on the floor unable to move was “Thank God, I won’t be going to the Olympics.”

this is the first thing a twenty year old is thinking to herself after a horrible crash that leaves her unable able to move. at that point she had no idea if she was paralyzed or not—but she had said repeatedly that the move she was working on was too dangerous and she didn’t want to do it—she had also talked about the possibility paralysis as well and was blown off by her coach.

to me, that is profoundly profoundly disturbing—that the only escape women feel they have from the culture/pressure/life of an athlete is injury. that they feel like they have to *escape* to begin with.

and i think it’s a fair question to ask—how many of the women/girls who are competing right now from across the world are trying to negotiate that reality? how many of them—even if they truly absolutely love what they’re doing—don’t know that they have choices because they never knew any other life than what they have?

i’m not trying to get all sad and “i know what’s best for you, and you need choices” sort of thing—i’m instead headed in the direction of—how can we encourage the building of spaces where competition is there for those who want it—but that competition is not about “the ultimate a “body” can possibly perform”—but about “how well your average teen who has a full life and maybe does some a couple of hours training after school” can do?—the culture of football in the US not much better than something like gymnastics—but at least they don’t hit the edorsements and all that until they’re full grown men.

i mean—the big thing i’m thinking is how few of these really young athletes at the olympics have ever come out. I think michale wiess sorta half ass coming out and rudy galindo all the way coming out are some of the *ONLY* people i’ve heard of—even tho in figure skating in particular there’s been men who have died of AIDS and came out post death—and rudy galindo has talked openly about edorsements and jobs he’s lost post coming out.

there HAS to be more than two gay/queer people in the entire history of sports.

and what does all these endorsement deals and abusive coaches and absolute control over 13-17 years old do to those young girls developing a decent sense of sexuality and gender? and in the case of women of color like julissa gomez—developing and understanding themselves as women of color?

how do you come out when you’re “america’s sweet heart”?

Yes. We just discussed this at article club, wrt women’s boxing. We read Ariel Levy’s piece on Claressa Shields, in which it is asserted that all boxers have abusive pasts, and several coaches note that the best boxers are “the ones who listen to their coaches.” Judy was like, “I have never heard of obedience as an athletic trait before.” I was just like, has there ever been a boxer who grew up rich? I am guessing no, although plenty of rich people go on to be Olympians in other sports. The narrative of young women who have been abused growing into their power and become physically and emotionally strong is a powerful one, and it is one that boxing hits hard, if you will allow that phrase. And the coaches clearly care about them—how many stories have you read where the athlete has literally moved into her coach’s home? But then, it is also like, Ann Romney owning horses or something. Also the boxing officials are all freaked out about the lesbians in the sport,* but there’s no oversight of the coach/athlete relationships.

*And you’re right, they don’t come out. In Levy’s article there is a mention of a boxer who came out and her husband tried to kill her. In the sport I’m most familiar with, surfing, a conventionally pretty woman who is ranked well below a dykey-looking-or-possibly-actually-a-dyke surfer will make tons more money than the dlopad woman, because of sponsorship, and I assume that’s across the board for most individual sports.

July 29th, 2012

judyxberman: The New Pornographers — “The Fake Headlines” One…


The New Pornographers — “The Fake Headlines”

One of the few cliches that I wholeheartedly believe is that great art tell us, as Rilke put it, “You must change your life.” I think this can be true in both figurative and literal ways, and in a whole range of magnitudes, although the extent to which a work of art materially changes our lives doesn’t necessarily correlate to the extent of its greatness. All of which is to say, there have been very few individual songs that have had as clear an impact on my life as “The Fake Headlines” by The New Pornographers.

Right after I graduated from college, in Baltimore, I moved to Astoria with my boyfriend and some friends. This was in 2005, before most new humanities graduates spent months or years unemployed, and I got a job in publishing fairly quickly. At first, I felt so grateful to have found something in the field that seemed to be my only hope at a real career. I had not done relevant internships; I just had a degree in creative writing and one good reference and clicked with my employer-to-be in the interview. Within six months I was editing manuscripts, but the work was still almost all administrative — sending emails to authors, scheduling meetings for my boss, keeping track of contracts and deadlines.

By the end of my first year, although there was not much I could fairly be upset about, I felt trapped and frantic. I had not been a particularly anxious person in the past, but now I was starting to have panic attacks thinking about the future. I did not know what I wanted, but I knew that a life of sending emails and having meetings and editing other people’s books — especially in a subject area I didn’t feel strongly connected to — was not it. There are wonderful, brilliant people in publishing who are doing hugely important work, and some of them were my colleagues. It was just not the career for me. Also, I was terrible at being an assistant. I sent well-written emails and was good at the actual editorial work, but every little request made me feel undervalued and subservient. I say this not to convince you that I was too good to be an assistant or that being an assistant is intrinsically degrading work; I mean it as an acknowledgment of my own control issues. (Weirdly, I tend to be gracious about taking editing/criticism despite having an unattractively adolescent aversion to “being told what to do” in general.)

Anyway, I eventually began to plan an escape strategy. Considering other jobs in publishing gave way to daydreaming about working for five years and saving enough money to quit and spend a year on a novel. I had studied creative writing in college but hadn’t finished a story since graduating. Then, on a whim, I pitched something to Bitch and got hooked on critical writing. I forget whether I began doing music news for Tiny Mix Tapes before or after I started considering journalism school.

What I do remember is the song that convinced me, in a way that no facts or calculations ever could, that I wanted to and could write for a living. The New Pornographers’ Mass Romantic was an album I revisited every few months, falling in love with a new song every time. I had been through the obvious ones already: the title track, “Letter from an Occupant” (which, incidentally, Greil Marcus remembers as “the only song that from 12 September 2001 through at least the next two weeks I could bear to listen to”), “The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism.” But this time, it was “The Fake Headlines.”

The beautiful mystery of Carl Newman’s songwriting is that he so often manipulates lyrics that don’t add up to a narrative or descriptive whole so that they nonetheless create a distinct mood. New Pornographers songs have very specific emotional resonances, even when the words are as nonsensical as, “This boy’s life among the electrical lights.” The best way to describe these lyrics, I guess, is impressionistic.

“The Fake Headlines” is a bit more cohesive than most of Newman’s New Pornographers songs. “I wrote the news today / In a tent outside the midway rides,” it begins. The narrator alludes to a dark past (“And when you see the bruises on my legs from kicking pills / Then you’ll see how recklessly the pages are filled”) and conflates journalism with songwriting (“I filled the whole front page / With the catchiest words I could find”). There are vaguely absurd expressions of ambition (“I want to think out so loud / That the fashion police break me”). Maybe it is troubling that the song that inspired me to change my life was one about a seasoned hack writing beautiful bullshit on deadline, but it’s what spoke to me. (It may also elucidate why I have always been a better critic than reporter.) There was a wearily heroic romanticism there, and every time I wavered in my decision to go into lots of debt, I listened to the song again and hopeful restlessness took over.

I am not interested in discussing whether journalism school was a good or bad decision for me — just the power of art to send us down different paths in both our thinking and our behavior. Before this weekend, it had been a while since I had listened to “The Fake Headlines.” Hearing it again, even now that it bears more resemblance to my life than it once did (although, please, I do not fabricate), the song still gives me a jolt. It recharges my idealism and makes me want to be audacious rather than just adequate.