lotesse: (sorrow)
It weirds me out when media doing fine arts heist plots show real famous paintings in their various fictional private collections - I always have a moment of "that belongs in a museum!" and then am driven to go and check where the pieces actually are, to affirm that they remain visible to the public. I'm watching Leverage, and the first season finale two-parter just showed Vermeer's Girl With A Pearl Earring in the baddie's locked-down private gallery, when it's been in the Hague for more than a century - I know, because I checked.

It's like these shows take place in some horrible alternate universe where art is totally non-democratized. Vermeer in private collections, and - what was it, Picasso? Monet? - lost on James Cameron's Titanic.

(Am enjoying Leverage, but I wish it would play a bit harder. Watched Hannibal over the last few weeks, and wow it plays so hard. Whither happy mediums?)
lotesse: (Default)
It's like I've almost got everything lined up perfectly - but none of it's quite there yet. Deep breaths, self. You know things are gonna have to unsettle a little bit more before you're through.

-housing. I gotta get out of where I'm at, this is not cool. I've been looking for a place up in northern Michigan, up home, and it's soooo frustrating because what I need is to not live around people, but that costs money. I'm emailing right now with a dude who has EXACTLY WHAT I (THINK) I WANT: a 2br house on a farm. he's got other people interested, and I pretty much sent a beg yesterday evening, and have not heard back yet, and I'M CLIMBING THE WALLS because I WANT IT and I want to have everything settled, but true talk I haven't seen the interior or ANYTHING. I JUST WANNA BE SETTLED. I JUST WANT TO BE ABLE TO LIVE SOMEWHERE SAFE FOR ME.

-work writing. Every summer, my company puts together a set of introductory essays on a special topic. Last year it was Letters & Diaries, the year before that Manifestos. This year? Stories of Daily Life in Totalitarian Regimes, which seems to mean Red China, the USSR, and Nazi Germany. Girls, I been writing a LOT about Nazi Germany, I'm here doing a workup on Primo Levi, gah. There's a reason why I chose not to specialize in this sort of thing - I don't like looking at it too close, it eats at me. I mean, in a way it's also a (scary) honor, because talk about a literature written in blood. But I would still kind of rather be working on Shakespeare.
lotesse: (narnia)
I don't know why I feel driven to speak for C. S. Lewis - I don't deny that he was everything everyone says he was. But I get frustrated, because other people's perception of his authorial position in relation to his text just do not match up with my own. and the things that I find lovable about him are erased in the mismatch. Read more... )

(this is mostly coming from my attempt to read through Ana Mardoll's chapter-by-chapter Narnia decon; I respect Ana like crazy, but I get antsy with other feminists and Lewis-reading, because I see him as such a damaged little beast that I want to defend him, and then get frustrated with myself because in general I try to avoid defending white Christian dudebros. I don't think anyone needs to give him a pass. Nevertheless - some girls do woobie!Loki, I got my Jack Lewis)
lotesse: (edged)
Dear Mr. Dawkins,

in re: your dumbass tweet,

Natasha Trethewey is a better poet than Shakespeare, Fabiola Gianotti, Higgs Boson discoverer, is a better scientist than Einstein, and Zitkala-Ša was a greater musician than Schubert.

be pleased to note that this was not difficult.

up yours,
lotesse: (Default)
Had a fight this morning with my Mormon friend, who for whatever reason saw fit to break our usual detente with a bunch of crap pro-violence pro-war bullshit; I ended up yelling and hanging up on him, but it's kept bothering me. I hate having to know that people I like - well, I guess that's what comes into question, isn't it? if they really are people that I can like. G. repeatedly described himself this morning as "pro-imperialism," and I sort of think you can't come back from that. He doesn't get it from nowhere - like Orson Scott Card, my friend did mission work in Brazil, and however much they dress it up as charity or whatever the Mormon missionary scene is totally imperialism in practice. And, no matter the polygamy bans, the Mormons are really patriarchal, moreso than I think people understand. This is the religion that makes eighteen-year-old white boys "priests" with all these "spiritual powers." See the recent excommunication of Kate Kelly for Mormon patriarchalism in action.

but we're getting old enough that this shit is no longer cute.

It's always creeped me out a bit that my family contacts with Mormons have been so gendered: we've got G. and an older friend of his, a painter like my mama, and the both of them do this man-about-town skirt-the-rules thing where they drink cocktails and mama's friend paints nudes. Mama and her friend go gallery-hopping in New York, and he's married, but his wife is never with him: he explores the city art scene while she, seemingly, stays home with their children and obeys the laws of their church. It's like the men have the authority to bend the rules, and so can make fun playmates for leftist folks like me and mine - but that actually kind of makes it all worse, because they're not only cult members, they're hypocritical cult members who subject their women to harsh standards that they themselves cannot keep to.

(The OSC link above goes to a fascinating chapter-by-chapter deconstruction of Speaker for the Dead. before reading through it, I'd managed to forget enough of the book to think that I liked it better than Ender's Game,, and had tended to position it as the one thing of Card's that was maybe still worth it. There are now a number of things freaking me out about my own personal relationship with Speaker. I'd managed to miss the implication, as a child, that Novinha and her family are Black, and it's breaking my brain, because on the one hand, I'm not surprised that OSC didn't succeed in getting a message of diversity across - and then on the other I wonder if I wasn't engaging in defensive ignorance, because as the linked decon shows, Ender's interactions with the Ribeiras are fucking horrific if he's the lone white dude on a Black planet. Even as a twelve-year-old, I knew I didn't want to read an interracial romance authored by Card! I kind of wish I didn't have to know now! but then again, erasure and whitewashing are, we know, not cool responses to a text. Gahhhh. In even further "I don't know what to do with this," I was also struck, given the really really central place that Komarr has had in my ability to think through my abuse, with how much Speaker felt similar: I can really see Miles/Ekaterin as a rewriting of Ender/Novinha, even down to the role of the children. idek man.)

(I've been feeling angry and bitter and intense and fighty a lot of late, and idek about that either. are things more shit than usual in the world, or is it just me?)
lotesse: (trek)
Got through my 2+ hours of dentistry this morning with a persistent application of the Dune Litany Against Fear, which for some reason really works for me? Now I am very tired - was skeery and adrenal about it last night - and am tucking in with a pot pie and the second half of Neil DeGrasse Tyson's Cosmos series, cause he's my boo.
lotesse: (tony)
am excessively proud of having called the significant of Stephen Colbert's goatee a solid fifteen minutes before he mentioned Iron Man.
lotesse: (faerie)
some links, mostly about gender violence, abuse, and affective labor/exhaustion:

this comment on Jezebel about gaslighting was helpful for me in figuring out why I've found the UCSB murders and the conversations in their aftermath so profoundly triggering

Re-imagining Disclosure as a Collective Act of Listening over at thefeministwire: "this formulation is that the burden of social change is placed upon those least empowered to intervene in the conditions of their oppression. The figure of the subaltern, or the survivor, gaining voice captures our political imaginary, shifting the focus away from the labor that might be demanded of those in positions of power to learn to listen to subaltern inscriptions—those modes of expression that are often interpreted as ‘silence.'"

Abuse as DDoS at Model View Culture: "DDoS attacks are so difficult to deal with largely because of their distributed nature. Even if the individual attacks aren’t particularly powerful, deal with one and dozens more will sprout up like some terrible mythical creature. Systemic abuse in the tech industry is also like this. Even seemingly minor acts of misconduct become a problem because they don’t happen in isolation."

also from the same issue of Model View Culture, The Fantasy and the Abuse of the Manipulable User: "Social media’s social-reinforcement mechanisms are also far more powerful. The “network effects” that make fledgeling social media sites less useful than already-dominant platforms also serve to lock existing users in. It’s difficult to practically set boundaries against existing social media products which have historically served one and one’s friends. People’s natural desire to be in contact with their loved ones becomes a form of social coercion that keeps them on platforms they’d rather depart. This coercion is picked up on and amplified by the platforms themselves - when someone I know tried to delete his Facebook account, it tried to guilt him out of it by showing him a picture of his mother and asking him if he really wanted to make it harder to stay in touch with her."

The Empathy Trap at Hook and Eye: "I mean really, what responses are left when faced with someone you ostensibly respect who hasn't found a place in the system? You tell them they matter. The work they do matters. You tell them that it stinks that they don't have stable work and that it is unfair. And probably it is unfair, but there you are, face-to-face, at a stalemate. If you're jobbed and you care then you're inevitably in a position of empathy. You are in a position of relative privilege. If you're not jobbed and you care, then you're in the position of needing to tell the caring person you're ok. You'll manage. Because honestly, it is the system, it isn't them. This, friends, is the empathy trap. It is a real thing and we are all, one way or another bound up in it, be we jobbed, not jobbed, or somewhere in between."
lotesse: (Default)
been thinking about violence, misogyny, and mental illness. I think that one of our takeaways as a culture NEEDS to be a re-evaluation of the seriousness of sexist hate speech; don't know that it's gonna happen, because we're so saturated in men's words of sex and gender violence that it's genuinely difficult to take them seriously. I don't want to know how much men hate me. I don't want to know that about them. But to brush aside rape and murder threats as "just internet trolling" is manifestly unsafe. when a man writes that he intends to murder women in an act of entitled "retribution," we need to be aware of the very real possibility that he will do so. nothing incomprehensible about it.

the fact that his mother noticed, understood, called the police on him, but when they came they thought he was "shy" and "polite" and so did nothing, shows that the flip side of the tone argument is also active and insidious: say horrible things in a "civil" way, and people will excuse you. "civility" is a dirty goddamn word.

as always, when a white-passing male pulls this sort of shit, everyone says he's mentally ill. many others have done the important work of showing how this assumption gets the axis of violence in relation to mental illness ass-backwards, indicating us crazy folk as perps when really mentally-ill people are so much more likely to be victims. but I also had the thought, this morning, that ideas about mental illness, violence, and sexism were part of what screwed me over in re: my ex, who was both mentally ill and abusive. When we met he was struggling to function through his OCD; his family hadn't done their research, swung from enabling his neurotic behaviors to asking why he didn't just stop them. he wasn't quite a misogynist, but he was definitely a bitter geeky manchild, and yes the way he talked about the girl he'd been with before bothered me a little. The only reason my mother could ever give me for the way she hit the ceiling when I started seeing him was his mental illness. I wonder, now, if she saw something of what was coming to me, if she perceived his potential for abuse - but because all she could say to me was "not that one he's crazy," and because I saw myself as "crazy," I got tangled up in a whole bunch of stuff about how mentally-ill people are still deserving of love. Not only does the labeling of entitled violence as mental illness contribute to the stigmaticization of non-neurotypicality, it also allows the mis-naming of entitled, violent, or abusive behavior as just mental difference. I'm reminded of Lundy Bancroft's observation in Why Does He Do That that individual therapy can actually make abusers much much worse. In fact, the argument could be made that while the shooter's parents DID get him diagnosed and into therapy, which would have been the right line of action in the case of mental illness, he may have never been crazy at all, just entitled and bitter and willing to damage others in order to ameliorate his own pain. obvs I can't know that, but I do know that I made that mistake with my ex, seeing problems as part of his disorder that we actually part of his assholishness and entitlement.

am finding Dark Angel to be sufficiently man-hating escapist catharsis; recommendations for further misandrist viewing would be appreciated. might have to go whole Hepburn tonight and rewatch Adam's Rib.
lotesse: (freedom)
I know Kim Kardashian doesn't self-id as non-white, but I can't help but feel that there are major racial overtones to the difference between bloids' and the internet gossip blogs' coverage of her wedding and, say, Duchess Kate's. The contrast between spaces' treatment of those two women is really putting me off. Jezebel and Go Fug Yourself in particular.
lotesse: (freedom)
I am genuinely shaken by horror at the news this morning: Tennessee's bringing back the electric chair for their executions. Not thinking about it; they've gone and voted on it. This is -

lotesse: a still from Peter Jackson's "Forgotten Silver" (glamazon)
ob!meme: Everyone should post your most ten CRUCIAL CRUCIAL - ASS movies, like the ten movies that explain everything about yourselves in your current incarnation etc...

1. The Empire Strikes Back
2. La Belle et la Bete (1946)
3. Into The Woods
4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
5. Rebecca
6. Lagaan
7. West Side Story
8. The Court Jester
9. The Adventures of Baron Munschausen
10. The Fall
lotesse: (faerie)
Back in Due South for the weekend. It just KILLS ME that the metaphor closest to Fraser's mind on "Mountie on the Bounty" for swimming is letting yourself bloom like a flower, KILLS ME.
lotesse: (sorrow)
I've also been thinking about bell hooks' critique of 12 years a slave, because I'm on the record as loving it and wanted to account for the discrepancy.

Looking back at my own viewing notes, I see that I was already uncomfortable with media narratives about Patsey/Lupita Nyong'o. hooks asks us to imagine the movie without her - and for me personally, that's not actually that hard to do, since I connected most heavily with Solomon and Eliza. Adepero Oduye's work in the film has really haunted me, and if I think about it I think I'm really frustrated with how much Lupita has eclipsed her in the public eye. And yes, I do think there are reasons for that that have to do with beauty, and now that hooks has me thinking harder probably there's also some things going on with Patsey in white response to Nyong'o - one thing that's about the slave girl turned award-show Cinderella, how good and meritocratic it seems, and also maybe an erotic thing about her naked and beaten body in the film; it tries hard to short-circuit that, but it's also super possible that the filmmakers overestimated audiences in assuming that a beaten Black body could escape erotic charge no matter what.

I also observe that my notes slide more and more into film language as Patsey's narrative rises; I'm paying attention to how it's done instead of fully empathizing as I had earlier in my viewing experience. bell hooks has to have something about the presence of the gaze; there I am tracking it. there was some amazing manipulation and subversion of the gaze going on, but tbh I'm not sure I think the film would lose all that much if Patsey's body hadn't become so focal. it's the earlier parts at the Cumbermaster's plantation that draw on me most; the roses in the arbor on Sundays, Solomon's feet searching slowly for the ground, the tremendous opening visual metaphor of human bondage and tightening violin strings, Eliza being told by her "kindly" white mistress that she'll soon forget the loss of her children.
lotesse: (freedom)
bell hooks ain't wrong. have been experiencing SO much anger watching as pop feminism and its whiteboy hangers-on dismiss her as old, jelly, a bitch. you sit your ass down so it can get schooled, ms. hooks is willing to dispense a drop of her brilliance & you should be grateful.

I've been thinking a lot about Audre Lorde's language, which hooks refers to above: the master's house will never be dismantled by the master's tools. When I first read that back in college I heard it but was resistant, I think because I was still so deeply in at that point with white man's culture. I was all Tolkien and Joss Whedon and I wanted to dismantle patriarchy with Buffy and I wanted it to work. And of course I was just really coming in to "wifely" living with my whiteboy partner.

The place where I'm at now? If I could have believed Lorde then, maybe I never would have come to be here. I get why the process was necessary, but - I had thought that I could work revolution from within, you know? marry a man and have his children and raise them to be feminists. get a cozy academic job working with old white culture in new intersectional ways, that'll work out just fine, right? I didn't, I haven't LIKED to acknowledge the depth of white culture's damage and complicity, but I'm realizing now that it's emotionally and psychologically dangerous not to. Like, it should not have been so surprising to me that the Victorian Studies department of Indiana University wasn't all that in to revolution. Lipservice yes, but if you rock the boat too hard stuff gets wet; maybe your scholarship on Dickens stops being seen as so centrally significant, maybe your dept switches places with the black studies dept and YOU have to be the poor underfunded sideshunted ones.

well, above, bell hooks said it pretty good: we're not going to be able to take our wealth with us through decolonization.

I'm going to try and listen better.
lotesse: a still from Peter Jackson's "Forgotten Silver" (glamazon)
So I guess it's Edmund Wilson's birthday toady? 'Oo those awful orcs' Edmund Wilson.

I have to say that one of the great unexpected pleasures I've found in reading up on Edna St. Vincent Millay's biography is the grace, persistence, and brutality with which she dismissed him and his overinterested dick over the years.
lotesse: (edged)
It's fucking shocking, to me, that we're still at the releasing new comprehensive reports stage of our public relationship with the reality of climate change. We were there ten, twenty years ago. The shock of realization about global warming was a driving force in American culture back in my early early childhood, the ozone layer; 80s shit.
lotesse: (starwars)
I foresee a strong need for these arguments in the future, as nerd engagement with the new Star Wars movie ramps up: why it's not okay to bag on Carrie Fisher about her weight )
lotesse: (faerie)
I'd just nipped on to netflix and put on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in an attempt to get myself out of a snurly mood - I sometimes find, when I'm having a hard time relaxing/engaging, that the multimedia stim of those old movie musicals is really helpful in its sheer intensity & ability to distract - and for the first time ever I noticed that the screenplay is credited to Roald Dahl of all people. So it turns out that while the movie's technically based on an Ian Fleming novel, pretty much everything I love about the movie is Dahl stuff. The name "Truly Scrumptious" - because of course it is, god - and all the stuff in the magical kingdom. It explains the distinctly childs-rights tone of the piece, for sure, and also the relative absence of bad gendered business, and movie's overall sense of humanist gentleness; imo it's the pinnacle of "want Dick VanDyke to be your daddy" filmmaking, and I also have to say that the "doll on the music box" never gets less wonderful. As a kid I picked up on the doll-as-rich-girl metaphor, but now I'm stupid touched by the lack of pretension in the way they turn the plot's fairytale courtship all the way up to where it gets vulnerable and open and sweet on metaphorical registers.

Well, I'm certainly unsnurled now :)

eta: talked on the phone with the best friend who I might still have feelings for who's also currently relocating north. shit we have such intense talks, all these breathing silences. I'm trying to wait on things & not think too much until we've lived around each other for a while; I've never been entirely sure of him, but then again I can so easily imagine us pulling together. We want the same things right now, country life, and by his circle's lights we're both pretty old to not have had children yet. and he's already so much part of my family, and knows & understands us/me. I think at some point one of us is going to have to initiate some emotional honesty, because there's too much we still don't say.
lotesse: (narnia)
Interesting convo over at Shakesville that deconstructs the "but rape is historically realistic" canard by showing all the historically realistic ways medieval women had to gain power that are written right out of Westeros.

More and more, Game of Thrones reinforces my conviction that it's essential to include author positionality in SFF analysis, maybe moreso than in other genres? because of the imaginative freedom/responsibility worldbuilding confers. GoT has some cool-sounding ladypersons in it, but I look at the author and I look at the stans and I don't think their fantasy about ladypersons in a crypto War of the Roses with dragons added is the same as mine. There's an investment in - I don't quite know the word, but bad history and rape culture and something liked medievalist evopsych? which I do not, will not, share. Sometimes you can cut the texts up and rearrange the pieces; but Rape Rape Martin, from what I can see, lays down some hard patterns; those books kind of sincerely scare me, I'll admit it. And the question becomes if it's worth doing the work.

Ironically, bc Martin is so often presented as an improvement on Tolkien, Middle-earth is actually much better at allowing realistic paths to power for women apart from fighting or fucking; there aren't many named ladypersons in LoTR but of the few there are two are Ioreth and my personal cotdamn hero Lobelia Sackville-Baggins. And maybe it's part of the reason why I'll always love Narnia best of all: because women in Narnia gain power through insight and imagination, and they don't have to fight OR fuck if they don't want to. It's much easier for me to mentally wander around Gondor or Cair Paravel and add in realistically diverse, complex, and powerful women than I feel like it would be to attempt the same thing around the Iron Throne.

daughter of the sea, oregano's first cousin


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