Posts tagged ‘Uncategorized’

December 24th, 2010

Swagger, Brontë-style

I’m watching the 1983 BBC adaptation which is super good, because the actress (Zelah Clarke) totally gets across how Jane is kind of prissy and creepy and sneaky. More on that later, Eyresses, this is just a quick Hair Appreciation Post because CHECK THIS OUT:

a white woman's head from behind. She has brown hair that is pinned up

OK it’s a screen shot so not the best but basically she has the back of her hair up in a bun. And then the front: is STAR TREK. It’s parted in the middle and there is a sweep back like a swag curtain,  but then above that there is a braid swag all on its own. If you just saw it from the side and didn’t know it was hair, it would be some kind of abstract landscape. It is kind of like Jane Eyre saw Yeoman Rand and thought, “How could I incorporate that Star Fleet look into my 19th century nerd life?” and then actually did it. Here is a bigger shot.

Also I am in love with the introduction to the second edition. Charlotte Brontë goes hard at those who mistake the objects of satire:

Conventionality is not morality. Self-righteousness is not religion. To attack the first is not to assail the last.

It’s so Wikileaks-appropriate, right? All this damn conflation. Bronte lauds William Thackeray and dedicates this edition to him:

There is a man in our own days whose words are not framed to tickle delicate ears ; who, to my thinking, comes before the great ones of society much as the son of Imlah came before the throned kings of Judah and Israel; and who speaks truth as deep, with a power as prophetlike and as vital—a mien as dauntless aud as daring. Is the satirist of ” Vanity Fair” admired in high places? I cannot tell : but I think if some of those amongst whom he hurls the Greek fire of his sarcasm, and over whom he flashes the levin-brand of his denunciation, were to take his warnings in time, they or their seed might yet escape a fatal Kamoth-Gilead.

Why have I alluded to this man? I have alluded to him, reader, because I think I see in him an intellect profounder and more unique than his contemporaries have yet recognized; because I regard him as the first social regenerator of the day—as the very master of that working corps who woald restore to rectitude the warped system of things; because I think no commentator on his writings has yet found the comparison that suits him, the terms which rightly characterize his talent. They say he is like Fielding ; they talk of his wit, humor, comic powers. He resembles Fielding as an eagle does a vulture. Fielding could stoop on carrion, but Thackeray never does. His wit is bright, his humor attractive; but both bear the same relationship to his serious genius that the mere lambent sheet-lightning playing under the edge of the summer cloud does to the electric death-spark hid in its womb. Finally, I have alluded to Mr. Thackeray because to him—if he will accept the tribute of a total stranger—I have dedicated this second edition of  “Jane Eyre.”

First, who knew that Charlotte Brontë knew so much about lightning? Lambent sheet-lightning and levin-brands. She was writing in 1847, while Vanity Fair was still being published in serial form. After the last installment was published, in 1848, she wrote in a letter to W.S. Williams:

Thackeray is never borne away by his own ardour—he has it under control. His genius obeys him—it is his servant, it works no fantastic changes of its own wild will, it must still achieve the task which reason and sense assign it, and none other.

This also feels very relevant. I had no idea there was this connection between Brontë and Thackeray (I don’t say this as if it is a surprising that there is a gap in my knowledge, because I know very little, just I was surprised to learn it.) It seems that later on they became friends of a sort–-she attended his lectures and visited his home. It’s nice to think about.

December 22nd, 2010

Schrödinger’s Cookies

Every time I get on a subway train, I do an assessment of my fellow travelers in case of an emergency. There are the ones who are obviously going to be hysterical and require some handling. There are others who appear competent and might be good at figuring out how to open the doors if we have to or to jerry rig some kind of comm setup. I know I have my flashlight to contribute to our self-rescue! It’s almost a disappointment when nothing happens.

On  the train this morning there was a guy with a huge box of homemade cookies. The box didn’t have a lid, just clingfilm across the top, so you could see all the cookies–there were at least 5 kinds. And was a huge box! I just made a pretend box with my hands to estimate and then measured my estimation and it was 27 inches across. So it was pretty unwieldy, especially because he was kind of trying to hold it up with just one hand like a waiter, which seemed reckless to me. The subway was crowded and jerky and there were several times I thought he was done for, but he kept it together. Eventually a seat opened up and he plopped into it with visible relief. But then! The train slowed down and came to a halt in the tunnel, because possibly some people were going to get where they were going on time and that is not supposed to happen.

Of course the first thing I thought when the train stopped was, “How long would we have to be stopped in order for this guy to start handing out cookies?” I mean, if you are on a crowded train full of cranky people and you have a huge box of cookies THAT WE CAN SEE (no lid!) and you know that you and your cookies have the power to cheer everyone up and break the tension, you have to do some tough moral calculations. You don’t want to start handing them out right away, because that’s weird, and people might think it was a terrorist plot—stall the cars and hand out poison cookies! Actually I just freaked myself out with what a good plot that would be. Remember during the blackout when people were just handing out water? Madness!

So anyway you want to wait a good chunk of time before handing then out but not so long that you seem like a dick. I mean, I’m sure I’m not the only person who was thinking about the cookies. Pretty soon word would have spread even to the back of the car that there was a huge box of them with us. You would also have to factor in the consequences of having handed them out once we did get off the train. If you were headed to the office, you could arrive with no cookies but with a great story, which is solid gold office currency. But what if you were taking them to a children’s ward at the hospital or to some nice old folks? “Sorry, no cookies, I gave them to my subway friends.” The worst would be if you started handing them out and the train started right then. You’d be stuck, like,  “So now do I  keep handing them out or just awkwardly stop and pretend not to notice the people who didn’t get cookies?” If I was that guy I would have died a thousand deaths, but the train started moving again and I never learned what he might have done.

Then on the way home, I smelled smoke and the car stopped, and then everything turned off. You know how they have one way where they stop but the train is still running, humming and stuff? This was not that. The train was all the way off, although the lights were on. We could hear people outside the train talking to each other and I was kind of excited at the thought that we would possibly be evacuated and get to walk down the train tunnel to safety. A DREAM COME TRUE. PLUS I HAD MY FLASHLIGHT. The announcer came on a few times and said we were being held because of a “smoke situation” on the tracks, which is obviously hilarious, and then finally it started again.

Commuting is fucking exhausting.

December 18th, 2010

When They See Me Wearing Your Pants, They Will Know I’m Cool

Portland, UK!

November 27th, 2010

The Greatest Band, The Greatest Zine

November 27th, 2010

Fridge, a diabetic

Fridge, a diabetic -

urine in faces

cat stool flying in mouth

and all over the places.

He has but one tooth

in his head.

When he bites you it feels like fire.

“So Fridge, why are you so bad?”

Fridge (the cat) “I do not like you Andrew.

I like to let myself go on you all the time when you give me my meds.

One more thing – be happy I don’t vomit too.”

Thank you Fridge for that comment. This is Andrew saying I stink of urine and brown stuff.”

OH my god I am so happy I found this. I first spotted it in the back room at the Cat Practice like 7 years ago and I thought I would die on the spot. All over the places and When he bites you it feels like fire are so totally brilliant and then the segue into conversation, IT IS SO FANTASTIC.

Later that same year Monster was there for a couple of days with a kidney infection and I was visiting her when I noticed a cat further down was indeed the infamous Fridge. I thought he would be some mean-looking crank but he was the softest fluffiest angel-faced kitty in the world. That one tooth was telling, though. Like fire.

November 27th, 2010

Revise


I knew I was insane in 1994, but I didn’t realize just how insane until now.

I’m pretty sure this was never published because Tomas did come through with the shaved chest. I totally forgot I had roped even Bill Daniel into this evil scheme. Good lord.

November 21st, 2010

We Both Know Hearts Can Change

Nothing expresses the current state of my life more than the fact that I now own white high-heeled Doc Martens. If I were living inside the November Rain video, which we all are, really, right now I’d be watching Slash do his solo outside the barn church, getting dirty and not caring because white boots look better with mud on them.

November 21st, 2010

Totally Rad

a black book cover, with white type that reads "The Manifesti of Radical Literature"

Look, a book!

Ms. Anne Elizabeth Moore is a rabble rouser and an upstart who is dedicated to overthrowing all of the right things and maybe even some things that you (and I) aren’t that comfortable with overthrowing. She was escorted out of American Girl Place by the cops when she decided to add to the conversation that was happening there; her  book Unmarketable: Brandalism, Copyfighting, Mocketing, and the Erosion of Integrity, in addition to demonstrating proper and civilized use of the Oxford comma in its title, is a pointed look at the co-optation of DIY and other punk ethical strategies; she is using WPA archival techniques to document culture in her hometown with the dogged and awesome Revision Street; she has a number of other brilliant projects you should just go check out on her site, including a pdf of a zine that tells you how to make itself (I KNOW MINDBLOWING); and she is off to Cambodia early next year on a Fulbright because even the man she’s taking down knows she’s rad.

So you can imagine how honored I was when she asked me to contribute something to the new edition of The Manifesti of Radical Literature, which is kind of like the Chicago Manual of Style plus sneakiness and honor and jokes. My modest postface (A real thing! Opposite of the preface!) is hardly necessary to make this a valuable and compelling book, but it is there nonetheless, and I eagerly await the revolution that will begin when you get a Manifesti of your very own.

Because nothing in life is easy, you can’t get one right now! But soon they will be available, so watch this space and Ms. Moore’s enjoyable Twitter for details. Get yours here!

November 7th, 2010

Moulting

A Puffin with patchy fur in the foreground--glaciers in the background

Thinking a lot about equality, liberation, visions of success vs visions of freedom. From Lisa Factora-Borchers on her blog My Ecdysis:

The purpose of feminism is to end itself. Andrea Dworkin called it one day without rape. Others have other land posts measuring feminism’s victory. The purpose of feminism is to one day find ourselves where we don’t need to fight for human rights through the lens of women’s oppression. Note: I didn’t write that the purpose is to bring down the man. The purpose is not to have a female president. The purpose is to transform the infrastructure that holds kyriarchy in its place. Replacing men with women – of any race, ethnicity, creed, or ability – who refuse to acknowledge the insidious and mutating face of gender oppression is not forward stepping. It’s a perpetuation of history.

And so the question comes: how invested are you in the liberation of women?

Because if you agree that the liberation of all women carries more weight than the identification as a liberal feminist, the feuds over whether feminism is dead becomes irrelevant. The uproar should be about dying women, not a dying Feminism.

And in a later post (at the blog’s new home):

The purpose and measure of kyriarchy – and feminism in general – is not to increase our time at the microphone so we can more accurately assign BLAME.  The purpose and measure of kyriarchy is to further understand the power and crippling tendencies of the human race to push, torture, and minimize others.  It is in our nature to try and become “lord” or “master” in our communities, to exert a “power-over” someone else.  Kyriarchy does not exist to give us tools to further imprison ourselves by blaming our environment, upbringing, or social caste.  It is the opposite.  Kyriarchy exists to give us tools to liberate ourselves by understanding the shifting powers of oppression.  It is not about passing the megaphone to men so they can be included in the oppression olympics.  Simply check-marking our gender, sex, race, ablity, class, citizenship, skin color and other pieces of identity will not free us from the social ills of our stratified society.  Kyriarchy is not the newly minted alarm clock to wake us up to what’s wrong.  It exists to radically implement our finest strategies to deconstruct our personal and political powers for the liberation of self and community.  For self AND community.

Which is why I so vehemently disagree with Hodgson who believes that the most helpful piece of kyriarchy is “its emphasis on individual liberation…”

Please indulge my own theory-making right now:  There’s no such thing as liberation if the word ‘individual’ precedes it.

November 3rd, 2010

Badass.

a mug shot of a young woman with glasses in camoflauge

Check out Dilma Rousseff, the president-elect of Brazil. The above is from 1970, when she was arrested along with other members of Colima, a left-wing resistance group. She spent three years in jail, and was severely tortured.

She’s obviously a badass which does bring me to the topic of Ms. Shannen Doherty and her new book, Badass.

Basically this is McCarren Park kickball except awesome.

  • Steve is shirtless and wearing trunks with crossbones on his ass.
  • Brandon, Andrea, and Kelly are all wearing jeans shorts.
  • Tori Spelling clearly has no internal organs
  • Andrea puts her hands in the air, like she just don’t care
  • Mr. Megan Fox wins the dance contest, because on this show David Silver is basically the token black friend, except Jewish

However, I fear for Badass. The subtitle is A Hard-Earned Guide to Living Life with the (Right) Attitude. Amazon tells me: “In her first book ever, she reveals her own evolution from bad girl to badass, sharing her secrets to happiness and success.”  I think I will pass, badass!

Who on earth would want to learn about the right attitude from Brenda Walsh? She is the go-to for a bad attitude, and she is right every time! Things are unfair, Brandon does get special treatment, high school sucks and her relationship choices are stultifying. Brenda is the locus of resistance in the very heart of 90210! If she had a Tumblr we’d be all “Dood you gotta follow Walshtown.”

Bren has obviously been tamed, and taught to please. I worry that this is happening with Dilma as well. She had plastic surgery in order to be a more appealing candidate—although in Brazil I think plastic surgery is kind of mandatory. She’s basically Lula in lady clothes. But I like to think that deep down inside, she is still a motherfucking guerilla, perhaps wearing a black midriff top and high-waisted jeans.