Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I feel I am being misrepresented.

re: density and vacuousness

"...margaret was saying that the unique value of paintings is in their ability to do what photographs cannot do, in the same way that the unique value of the novel lies in its ability to do what films cannot do."

I think the fault lies with the plural. I did not mean to argue that paintings or novels were better than films or photos, respectively. Nor that some ideas or topics belong to or are even best expressed by any particular form. Rather, I was musing whether the modern value of these seemingly out-dated and old-fashioned art forms, having been surpassed in the pursuit of "realism" (in the popular imagination if not in point of fact), is that through a sort of non-literal interpretation of something (mood, moment, manatee), a different way of seeing things is made manifest. Is this what all good art does? Probably, yes. But the point, the point being that a great novel is essentially a novel, and not a film. That a film adaptation of a great novel will never be able to express the same essence as that novel. (I tip my hat to Milan Kundera's Immortality for addressing this exact question.) And, though it is less often attempted, vice versa. Of course there are excellent photos and mediocre novels. Taken as read. However, a great work seems to me to have something in it that links it, I would suggest inextricably, to its form.

quote of the day*

"I assure you, only the world's least-interesting men read Maxim."
- Seth Stevenson, "The Most Interesting Man in the World," for Slate.com

*I promise not to keep this up indefinitely. I promise I may or may not keep this promise.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

anti-quote of the day*

" 'Feminism' had come to seem, well...just the teeniest bit tiresome."
- Terry Castle, quote of the day on DoubleX

Why is everyone so damned intent on taking the joy out of feminism? I know it's trendy, but don't they know how much fun feminism is? Certainly Terry Castle seems aware of the pressing necessity for it still, the deep injustices that it tries to address, draw attention to, remedy. But the light, the also-necessary brightness, the ability to highlight the absurdities of patriarchy, masculinity, femininity, heteronormativity, the invaluable license to laugh at the strictures that terrified and straight-jacketed generations before us. It's invigorating! It's exciting! It's so wholly necessary! Like a telescope looking both into and out at society, history, culture, feminism allows us to focus on things that before had at best been vague blurs. It is equally relevant to micro- and macrocosmic ideas, issues, plans, designs. It makes me use these cheesy metaphors!

I agree with the point that certain strains of academic feminism can become staid, crippling, insular, largely irrelevant. But why does Castle avoid the liberating and embracing notion that feminism is for everybody?

*also not a daily feature

Monday, May 11, 2009

you can't say that about my Freundsprache

"The German tongue. Fleshy, warped, spit-spraying, purplish and cruel...I sensed a deathly power in the language. I wanted to speak it well, use it as a charm, a protective device. The more I shrank from learning actual words, rules and pronunciation, the more important it seemed that I go forward. What we are reluctant to touch often seems the very fabric of our salvation. But the basic sounds defeated me, the harsh spurting northerness of the words and syllables, the command delivery. Something happened between the back of my tongue and the roof of my mouth that made a mockery of my attempts to sound German words."
- Don DeLillo, White Noise

I know this is the popular opinion in the U.S., easily found among people who have never heard German, except by American actors in Hollywood movies. But I don't find it to be a harsh language. I think there is far more of an emotional/historical memory at work than anything else.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

dream, dream, dream

really? she could be a supreme court justice? Wow. We should be so lucky. But we probably won't.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

quote of the day*

"He writes of avoiding his desk when inventing, avoiding the connotations of serious endeavor, of earning a living. 'I wish instead,' he writes, 'to be irresponsible, rash, associative, dreamy, impish, brainy, intuitive, and stupid.' Which seems, to me, about the right strategy for our times."

- Allison Arieff on Stephen M. Johnson, "Searching for Value in Ludicrous Ideas"

(pictured above: bike vest)

*not a daily feature

the doorbell saga, exhibit C

I have a premonition that this will succeed in pleasing no one.

Of course, when my roommate took the one surviving screw to the hardware store, the hardware store lost it. These were the closest replacements available. Frankly, I think it looked better before, with the two screws of matching size and color, even if one did have the wrong head (sorry, no photo available, it was too brief of an interval).

the end, question mark

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

the apparent nonchalance of prostitutes


It was more striking than the prostitutes themselves. Sitting or standing behind their floor-to-ceiling windows, lit in pink and red. Dyed blonde, tanned, tattoed, lingerie- or bikini-clad. The same idea of attraction, conformity and repetition. And palpable disinterest. Eating, talking on cell phones. I suppose I expected some kind of show. Dancing on poles, come-hither nonsense. But you get nothing for free, besides the hammering if somewhat inexplicable guilt of voyeurism. The sameness of it all was what hit me hardest. And the heteronormativity. No men in the windows, and I was told that prospective female clients would be turned away. This from a city with a reputation for the largest Pride party in Europe.

How many, if indeed any, are there truly of their own volition? How many had better options that they turned down? The more I read about human trafficking, the more terrified I am that we never abolished slavery. We just pushed it underground.

the doorbell saga, exhibit B

We took it off to try to match the screws.
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