I HAVE to start wearing earplugs more often. Even when it feels really good not to in the moment, I pay for it later. I can barely hear the text alerts from my phone right now, and it’s sitting on the desk a few inches from me.
Nichelle Nichols inspires Whoopi Goldberg to become an actress because she was the first black woman Whoopi’d ever seen on tv that wasn’t playing a maid.
Whoopi gets her career launched by starring in The Color Purple.
Lupita Nyong’o was inspired to become an actress after watching The Color Purple because she was finally watching a film with people who looked like her.
So just to be clear, An African communications officer (who Nichelle never would’ve played if not for MLKJ encouraging her about representation) inspired the lead actress in the best black film of all time (which was based off a book written by a black womanist) where the women carried the weight of the film, which led to an African actress to get the role in a high profile film, directed, written by and starring black folk before even graduating school and now has the most nominations I’ve ever seen from someone so inexperienced.
But by all means, keep making racist powerpoints about how representation has no affect on anyone just because you don’t see color.
Why is it accepted that some people who eat a ton of food can stay thin, but not accepted that some people who eat a small amount of food can be fat?
Since thin people get diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, why is becoming thin suggested as a cure?
Why bother using BMI as a substitute for metabolic health measures when we can easily test metabolic health measures?
Doctors treat thin people for joint pain with options other than weight loss, why don’t they give fat people those same treatments?
Why do we believe that doing unhealthy things (liquid diet, smoking, urine injections coupled with starvation, stomach amputation) will lead to a healthy body?
If the diet industry’s product actually “cured fatness”, wouldn’t their profits be going down instead of up as more and more people were permanently thin?
Isn’t it medically unethical to prescribe something without telling your patients that it works less than 5% of the time with a much greater chance at leaving you heavier and less healthy than when you started?
Why do people continue to think that shaming people will lead them to health?
Why do we accept wide variations in things like foot and hand size, nose and lip shape etc. but expect every body to fit into a very narrow proportion of height and weight?
If weight gain isn’t proven to cause diabetes, high blood pressure etc., why would weight loss be recommended as a cure?
Since weight loss ads have to carry a “results not typical” warning, shouldn’t doctors have to give patients a similar warning?
Why do people take the time to come to my blog and make death threats?
Does anyone really succeed at hating themselves healthy? If so is it worth it?
If we’ve been prescribing dieting since the 1800s and still can’t prove that it works, shouldn’t we be trying something else?
How is it possible that suggesting that healthy habits are the best chance for a healthy body is controversial?
“These reviews, these critiques, these opinions—I’ve always had a problem with inexperienced critics. That is to say […] if you haven’t made a film, if you haven’t actually gone through the process that it takes to even get a script green-lit, let alone cast and produced and edited and released and marketed correctly—if you haven’t gone through all those things and somehow had a thing [made], I don’t really wanna hear too much about what you thought of my film.”—
I’m passing some time today by listening to this while working (and because I’m one of the few idiots who will still defend the LOST finale), and this bit, which is really just a quick aside in an otherwise fine conversation, sent up a red flag. It’s something you hear creative people across all different disciplines say from time to time: this assumption that having worked the mechanics (or bureaucracy) involved in getting mass-audience art made yourself is somehow essential to interpreting and critiquing the final product, with this hint of a defensive attitude underneath it that says “What, you think you can do better??”
Pop culture commentary and criticism is its own art form with its own craft, processes, audience, and all that stuff. It’s an art of explicit argument rather than suggestion or obfuscation, but it’s still ultimately put out into the world for other people to enjoy and react to and think about (a strict interpretation of Xgau’s “consumer guide” schtick is pretty well useless in the modern age so don’t even go there). The problem is that it relies on other art to fuel it, so people in those other arts can be understandably defensive about their work. [I would like to note, though, that music critics have been rather generous about the instances where the tables have been turned and their work has been portrayed in movies as childish (High Fidelity), sentimental (Almost Famous), or creepily highfalutin (American Psycho).] But this is how things are: if you put your name on something that goes out into the world for people to enjoy and react to, you expose yourself to criticism. And the legitimacy of any critique can’t be contingent upon the critic’s experience with anything else but the listening/reading/viewing experience at hand.
I personally think all art of any ‘brow’ should work this way, but come on: it’s Pop. The only barrier to entry is “did you see/read/listen to it?”
Plus, also - this is fish in a barrel stuff, but it does annoy - good critics are comparing your film to all the other films they’ve seen, which presumably have gone through many if not all of the same processes! This can lead to its own kinds of myopia - assumptions of meritocracy and equal barriers within a biz, for starters. - but “it’s hard to get a film/album/comic made” is really a non-starter as a defense of a bad one since it’s presumably also fairly hard to get all the good ones made. (And yes this goes the other way too - “it’s hard to listen well” is no excuse for shitty criticism)
(There are TOTALLY situations where the Pollak defense is highly sympathetic, though - mostly where the criticism amounts to “waaaah why I can’t I have it faster?”, “why can’t I have more of it?”)
(AND and and, I know artists saying this stuff are probably talking about entitled fans shouting at them on Twitter or in person, but good critics - in my opinion! - aren’t writing to or for the artist. If they are, they should call it an “Open Letter To” and then fire themselves.)
(& one last sidepoint - good art is very often also better criticism than any criticism, so while the “you need to be an artist to criticise” point isn’t true, “you will be a better critic if you are an artist” point often is, it’s just said criticism may well not be in the form of words on a screen)
perhaps it doesn’t need to be said since it does seem like i’m replying to the lack of something that exists in implication-taken-as-read-that-everyone-reading-this-knows-better but, it serves a worthwhile clarification for potential “peanut galleries” that criticism, as a seemingly derivative art (much like other forms of derivative art, such as but not limited to: “fanfiction”, “fanart”, “mixtapes” - these also share a marked tendency by average members of their producing population at any level to appeal to the shared knowledge pools of a community that render them obtuse or unpleasant to outsiders; not coincidentally, i’m pretty sure, easily labeled “nerdy”), often gets itself overlooked as an art, that has forms, structures, styles, deviations, deconstructions, rabbitholes, avant-garde methods, clever amateurs and brilliant professionals, morons, egotists, sycophants, competent workaholics, steady draftspeople, and all other kinds of “artist” that you could name, and by continuing to place emphasis on its derived nature it is easy to lose sight of that which is idiosyncratic to its art, and singular, and underivable from other disciplines.
criticism, at its core, is about explanation. you can gesture towards and away from clarity or ambiguity in the service of same, you can do so by stealing tricks from other artistic forms, you can create new techniques out of whole cloth (chances are, someone else has done it first, but that doesn’t mean you know that, or what that looks like) to convey that explanation in more meaningful ways if you must, but criticism explains. perhaps the crucial failure (and the reason so many critics are insecure with themselves, and the reason it’s so easy to blind oneself to what one does, if one chooses to be a critic) is that criticism is terrible at explaining itself, but it is art, the art of exposition.
like all art it can be done badly, like all art there are places where its borders become fungible and porous, but it is not another kind of artistic expression. treating it like it is inadequate, constantly seeking to force it into “living up to” the standards of other art - when they have different purposes - that’s a zero-sum game a critic is damned to lose.
i don’t want to play that game. i mean, i’m saying this not so much to be prescriptive of anyone else’s methodology, but it helps clarify why i think what i think, it’s descriptive, and it’s what drives the above feeling - if i am to wear a critic’s hat - and it’s not the only artistic hat i want to wear, or the only career i have, or pursue - then when i wear that hat i’m wearing it as a critic first, because that is the work i am for, and if i suborn illustration to that, or animation, or letters, i still want it clear what i’m about. it’s an art form. i want to be considered an aspiring artist, in the same way a drawblog is viewed as same. that means the stuff i do on this blog - the self-reblogs, the analysis, the offhand comments adding lived color to the weird deep dives, the contextual reblogs, the self-promotion, all of it, the connections i’m making - it’s all practice. it’s training in the art. i don’t see it as anything else. call it pretension if you want. i call it careerist. this is what i do - what i wanna do. ain’t nobody gonna stop me.
i, the critic, destroy the inexplicable, and replace it with interpretation. i know this is art because that interpretation becomes, then, equally destructible in its turn. i need no other justification for believing it to be such. other people’ve got their own reasons, i guess. this is why i choose to do it.
This did not happen with my son. There were no phone calls. No worried concerns. No warm casseroles. My next door neighbor—a “friend” for 30 years— announced, as I was walking out to get the mail, that she wasn’t going to participate in the food train because she didn’t think we needed “all that food.” After I told her my son died of a heroin overdose, she put up a five foot privacy fence between our properties. We have not spoken since.
If you want to know a person’s soul, watch how they treat the sick, the addicted, and the animals of the world.
If you are grieving the loss of someone you loved, does it really matter if addiction is a choice, a disease or a combination of both? I guess it all hit me at once—Is this what people really think? Is that what they whisper after I leave a room? It not only hurts emotionally for the loss of my kind, courageous son who made a bad decision as a college student, but for the family of Hoffman who have to be subjected to so many hurtful comments about him. I don’t know what went wrong. I do know that what happened wasn’t part of the plan.
Important points being made, in the link and in those tags. Just to pick out one relatively minor one that (a bit shamefully) hadn’t occurred to me before, Meagher is quite right when he says the following (and I am going to try and remember it in my own speech in the future):
Even the term “violence against women” sounds like a standalone force of nature, with no subject, whereas “men’s violence against women” is used far less frequently.
Ian, I will step up to the plate and ask you (some of the lesser discomforting questions) from the template you reblogged. Choose whichever you want to answer: 69, 94, 96, 100
Very nice of you! Let’s see if I can avoid embarrassing myself.
69. Have you ever had sex in a public place?
I’m going to say yes, but not anywhere that was particularly risky or well-trafficked.
94. What’s something you like about your body?
I probably had more to say about this when I was attending bootcamp in Guelph regularly (which had nothing to do with appearance and everything to do with capability), but I like a lot of things about my body, actually. I like how tall I am, I like my eyes, I like the fact that my beard is red, I like my butt (of all things!), I even like that my head doesn’t really grow much hair (I just wish it’d skip ahead to not growing any at all up top).
96. What body parts do you find the sexiest?
Leaving aside the super obvious answers, I’m a big fan of the whole neck/shoulder area. But really when I like a person, I’m going to find pretty much their whole body pretty… compelling. There are definitely bits of Anaïs (no not those bits get your mind out of the gutter) I think are cute as hell that are body parts I don’t necessarily normally think of as “sexy.”
100. Do you often imagine people naked?
Pretty much never actually, which is surprising when I think about it. I’m guessing this has something to do with a couple of things, one being that I live in a society and time where images of people in little to no clothing are pretty damn accessible to me, if not unavoidable. Part of it is, if I don’t know you well enough to have actually seen you naked already, I feel like it’s weirdly disrespectful to picture you naked (not necessarily judging other people who do this, it would just make me feel weird). And partly it just isn’t where my mind goes; sure, when I was single if I had a crush on someone and was really attracted to them I’d like to see them naked, but why ruin the surprise for yourself, right? Pretty much everyone I’ve seen naked has looked both different and more beautiful than I could have pictured if I’d done so beforehand, anyway.
the idea of the technological singularity is late capitalism’s most brilliant move because it plays off any criticism of capitalism’s use of technology to disenfranchise and oppress by basically saying that technology under late capitalism just hasn’t progressed enough so we need to double down on it to save ourselves
it’s like if someone was stabbing you and you said “stop stabbing me” so they came up with this bullshit idea that said if you just get stabbed enough, all your stab wounds will be miraculously healed so the solution is actually to increase the size of the knife and the rate of stabbing
it’s a thing of beauty really
once youre stabbed enough the knife will just come out of your back and the healing can truly begin. this is the goal of capitalism and its for your own good. quite frankly you should be grateful, stabbing is hard and tiring work
we need to subsidise stab creators NOW. abolish the anti-competitive knife tax and let the free market do its job
Why can’t these perpetual victims stab themselves up by their stab-straps?
These are the most NSFW asks I have ever seen. It's late. IDGAF
1. What tends to feel better for you, sex or masturbation?
2. Your 5 favorite spots to be stimulated.
3. Have you ever had your prostate stimulated?
4. Have you ever had an orgasm from anywhere other than your genitals?
5. Do you prefer clitoral or vaginal stimulation?
6. Can you touch your clitoris directly, or does that hurt?
7. Are you well-acquainted with your G-spot?
8. Are handjobs boring, or underrated?
9. Do you like having your balls touched?
10. Do you like having your nipples touched?
11. Do you like having your anus touched?
12. Have you ever been fisted (anally or vaginally)?
13. Do you like mild roughness (scratching, spanking, hair-pulling, etc.)?
14. Do you have any kinks?
15. Are you into anything under the BDSM umbrella?
16. Do you pee in the shower?
17. Do you ever masturbate in the shower?
18. Have you had sex in the shower?
19. Do you like being naked?
20. Do you sleep partially/fully naked?
21. Have you ever skinny dipped?
22. What's the most unusual thing you've done nude?
23. Have you ever to a nude beach, naked party, or other situation involving casual nudity?
24. Are you comfortable being seen partially/fully naked by family or friends (i.e. getting dressed, etc.)?
25. Are you comfortable with partners seeing you nude in non-sexual contexts?
26. Have you ever showered with someone (non-sexually)?
27. Do you care if a partner sees you going to the bathroom?
28. Do you have naked pictures/videos of yourself? If yes, have you sent them to anyone? Are they online?
29. How many sexual partners have you had?
30. How often do you masturbate?
31. Age you started masturbating? How did you discover/learn about it?
32. What position do you typically masturbate in (laying on back, on stomach, sitting up, etc.)?
33. Describe your masturbation routine, technique, etc.
34. What do you masturbate to (porn, smut, imagination, etc.)?
35. Have you ever masturbated to the point you got sore?
36. Your thoughts the first time you got up close and personal with the opposite set of genitals?
37. Have you ever "compared" (genitals, breasts, whatever) with a friend?
38. What kind of underwear do you normally wear?
39. Do you ever go commando?
40. Have you ever had a wet dream/orgasmed in your sleep?
41. How big is your penis?
42. Does your penis curve at all?
43. Which testicle hangs lower?
44. How big are your breasts?
45. Do you long or short labia? Are they even or uneven?
46. Do you have a particularly large or tiny clitoris?
47. Are you circumcised or no? Are you happy with it?
48. Are you turned on or off by foreskin, or don't care?
49. What are you more into (or like more about yourself), boobs or butts?
50. Do you find genitals physically attractive, or weird/gross, or not feel strongly either way?
51. Do you like the way your genitals look?
52. Would you be able to pick out your genitals from a lineup?
53. Do you like your butt?
54. What do you do with your pubic hair (shave, trim, wax, nothing, etc.)?
55. Do you care/have a preference what partners do with their pubic hair?
56. Do you tuck your penis a certain way (i.e. left or right) when you get dressed?
57. Do you have or want any genital piercings? Do you like any on other people?
58. What is the quickest you've ever brought yourself (or been brought) to orgasm?
59. Do you ever "edge" (repeatedly stop and start) when masturbating?
60. What's the longest masturbation session you've had? Longest sex session?
61. What's the most orgasms you've had in one session (of anything)?
62. Do your orgasms tend to be full-body, or crotch-centric?
63. Spit or swallow?
64. When you ejaculate, do you more shoot or dribble?
65. Is it hot or gross to get ejaculated on?
66. Do you "squirt?"
67. Have you ever attempted (or succeeded) to give yourself oral?
68. Have you ever given/received a footjob, boobjob, etc.?
69. Have you ever had sex in a public place?
70. Have you ever had sex in a bed/on a couch that didn't belong to either of you?
71. Have you ever had sex/masturbated while somebody was sleeping near you?
72. How many rooms of your house/apartment/etc. have you had sex in?
73. Strangest/most unique place you've had sex? How about masturbated?
74. Have you had any sexual experiences that were downright gross?
75. Are you particularly "vocal" when masturbating/having sex?
76. Have you ever been caught masturbating/having sex?
77. Have you had or do you want to have a threesome (or foursome, or more)?
78. Do you own any sex toys?
79. Have you ever used a homemade sex toy, or a regular object as a sex toy?
80. Can a dildo feel as good as a penis (assuming the person with the penis is good at what they do)?
81. What are your favorite positions?
82. Your most embarrassing sexual experience?
83. Worst place/time you've ever gotten a boner?
84. Have you ever had any genital injuries?
85. Have you ever had a sexually transmitted infection?
86. Have you ever had a non-sexually transmitted genital infection (yeast infection, etc)?
87. If you lack a penis, have you ever tried to pee standing up?
88. If you lack a penis, how familiar are you with how you look down there?
89. Do you think you're "good" at sex, or your performance/skill could use improvement?
90. Have you "sexted" (whether through text messaging or IM chat)?
91. Have you masturbated for or with someone via webcam?
92. Have you have phone sex?
93. If you had the opposite set of genitals for a day, name 5 things you would do.
94. What's something you like about your body?
95. What's something you dislike about your body?
96. What body parts do you find the sexiest?
97. What was your most recent sexual thought?
98. Do you ever just play with your boobs, penis, labia, etc.?
99. When was the last time you touched your genitals?
100. Do you often imagine people naked?
A few people on my dash are/were doing these and they're a lot of fun to read! And the thought of answering some of them makes me mildly uncomfortable, so let's give it a shot. I totally understand if nobody wants to hear any of this in relation to me though.
theres a giant burning orb in the sky and it can burn your flesh, it can give you diseases, it can kill you, looking directly at it causes physical pain, and we all think this is okay. we like this orb. we like to go outside and lie around on our backs when this orb is in the sky. children draw cute pictures of this levitating death orb with a smiley face on it. what is wrong with us
A sex worker friend complains of discussions about sex work where every participant prefaces their anti-abolitionist stance with “I’m not a sex worker but”. She is left with the options of saying silent, lying, or outing herself.
That’s how felt last Friday, when I saw another friend recommending that everyone who is cis take advantage of Facebook’s new gender options, to say “cis female” or “cis male”, to remove the assumption that “cis” is the default. This was a fairly clued-up friend, but I don’t think she’d thought the implications of this.
I used to be stealth, kind of. I was never very good at it (both in the passing department and in the not telling anyone section). Now, I have it in my fucking twitter bio, and my god it reduces the anxiety about wondering who knows. I can do that because of other privilege I have - I am white, middle class, with high earning potential, and live in a city where I have a support network.
But just because I’ve been fortunate enough to make a decision doesn’t mean anyone else should be forced to make the same one. There are lots of people who aren’t out, for various reasons. That’s entirely up to them, and we need provide a context where they do not have that silence/lying/outing trilemma.
Imagine you’re trans and stealth and loads of your friends on Facebook have changed their gender to “cis male”/”cis female”. What do you do? You can’t put it to “trans” without outing yourself, something that may well affect your personal safety, employment status, etc, regardless of whether some set of your Facebook friends are going to be cool with it. You could change it to say “cis”, I suppose, but you might well think that is a crossing the line into a lie. (Stealth is not lying. Stealth is keeping quiet and sometimes fudging things.) So, stay silent? The thing is, at some point, if “cis” catches on as an identity, an unadorned “female” or “male” will become suspicious.
And then what if you are trans and pre-transition, either because you haven’t quite figured out what you are yet, or because you are not in a position to be able to. You would have to call yourself “cis” even though you don’t feel it’s quite right, or know it’s not true.
As an abstract concept “cis” is absolutely needed, but as an identity it has problems. When it’s relevant go ahead and acknowledge it, but don’t go flaunting it just as a default. And perhaps - sometimes - in solidarity - it would be better to refuse to confirm or deny.
It makes sense that the version of I Dream of Wires that’s currently available on DVD is the four-hour “Hardcore Edition” (with a shorter cut being saved for theatrical release); most people who are going to want to spend any time at all watching a film about modular synthesizers are probably in it for the long haul. There’s enough of interest here—to anyone interested in music, technology, cultural history, and so on—that a shorter cut of this documentary is more immediately appealing to a wider audience, but those willing to watch a movie that’s basically as long as most 5-6 episode miniseries will find some pretty rich rewards within.
If you have any interest in synthesizers/music made with synthesizers/electronic music/etc, I recommend the hell out of this documentary (my review goes on for a bit under the read more with why). It’s four hours long! It’s practically a miniseries! There are some small bits I had one issue or another with, but it’s mostly a delight.
Be femme (because I’m “over-performing” my gender, to quote Julie Bindel, and reinforcing the patriarchy besides by relying on harmful stereotypes of womanhood)
Be butch or even not femme (because therapists wouldn’t even listen to me if my gender expression wasn’t Princess Peach [you ever think of that as an explanation, Julie Bindel?])
Be assertive (because I’m “exercising my male privilege” and “innate masculinity” [because saying women can’t be confident is good feminism])
Be passive (again, reinforcing the patriarchy)
Be straight (because I’m “actually a deranged gay man desperate to fit into the patriarchy”)
Be gay (because I’m “actually a deranged straight man desperate to get my dick into lesbian-only spaces”)
Have sexual reassignment surgery (because it’s “unnecessary genital mutilation” according to people for whom it is completely unnecessary and “won’t make [me] a woman any more than shoving a vacuum down one’s pants makes them a man” [how right you are, BEING A WOMAN MAKES ME A WOMAN])
Not have sexual reassignment surgery (because I’d be faking it if I wanted to keep my penis and having a penis makes me a horrifying nuclear reactor of masculine rape energy that will trigger everyone around me even if I wear two layers of tights over underwear and under pants and never remove any of them)
Ever use a bathroom ever, you disgusting deviant, just your existence is harassment
Get any support from the Salvation Army, who would literally just let me die on their steps
Automatically assume that someone who identifies as feminist or even queer is a friend to me
Ever know with certainty that I wasn’t fired or just didn’t get a job at all because someone along the line realized I’m trans
Travel without being detained for years because my passport says M and I’m F
Date anyone without being afraid that telling them will repulse them to the point of murdering me and then literally submitting to a jury of their peers that my being transgender was so horrifying that it drove them temporarily insane
But, you know, being called ‘cis’ on the Internet sounds rough too.
ahaha i think if more critics saw the ‘extended’ counselor they might like it more, but i think general audiences would still despise it, ~too pretentious, same with the director’s cut of zombie’s halloween ii, which is another maligned work
her has pretentious dialogue; the counselor's wordsmithery is a work of deadwood-level fuckin’ art. have none of the people who say that ever heard a rich asshole speak in their own words, and not the words of a speechwriter? that’s what they souuuuuund liiiiiike. grhrhghrghgrhgrh save me from this idea that a film is “pretentious” just because it’s weird or off-putting. real rich people talk funny. especially cocksure sociopaths, which - hullo! i guess b/c they don’t talk like they’re in a scorsese movie they aren’t “realistic” tho?????
ok i want it noted you unleashed this by mentioning his name but ROB ZOMBIE.
i have … so much sympathy for people who’ve had bad viewing experiences with zombie films because lord, lord, do not try to tell me (& plz note i originally proposed this as a hypothetical and then a friend told me it actually happened to him, once, & it was hair-raising, so) you would want to be in the same room as a bunch of loud, sweaty, drunken, bearded white dude with devil’s rejects playing on the tv, you would not, you would not, and this is pretty close to most people’s first and last exposure to the film career of mr. zombie and i am not even remotely interested in trying to cajole them back to try again; there are some kinds of evil where it’s not anyone’s business to say “you haven’t seen enough of that already”, and zombie’s several films deep in an exploration of what it means to him to have empathy and wrestle with real evil that’s so raw and shaking that i would never, ever, under any circumstance, insist anyone seek it out if they can’t handle fictional depictions of vile things.
that said, if the true test of a horror movie is how well it unsettles me and sticks uneasily under my skin for the rest of my life, and i think it is, zombie is the finest horror director alive; halloween 2, the director’s cut, unhinged me, and the lords of salem shook me in my seat, left me with arms clutched around myself, weeping, unmade. what appalls me most is that, thanks to the disgusting audience they’ve attracted, thanks to his completely unrepresentative debut, what most audiences will fail to realize and appreciate about his sensibility towards horror is how rooted it is in a radical level of empathy for human being, how much of the reason it horrifies is because his lens makes you care. if he were even remotely the kind of filmmaker he’s sometimes made out to be, one only interested in splatterhouse violence, a movie that builds so much of its nauseating impact on a slow burn of psychic dread until the terror reaches such feverish intensity that it distorts the very images on screen like the lords of salem would never have happened; no, what makes his films so revolting - and i don’t begrudge anyone the desire not to experience his work because of his skill at it - is that the people who have to suffer exposure to the terrible void that is human evilness in zombie’s movies are not necessarily “good”, but they are people you, the viewer, love, are compelled to love, because zombie himself loves them - with an honest compassion that accepts them for being flawed, for being busted stuff, for being people who don’t deserve to have that horror inflicted on them, but who are visited by this ill nevertheless, because there is no center and there is no holding and there is no love that can save you. it’s not your fault. there is no place that is safe from this evil. but it’s … it’s not okay, but it’s okay, because you lived, and because you lived, you are loved.
i think about laurie, deborah, and the horse at the end a lot; i think about heidi and her dog a lot. those weren’t punitive choices.
i mean - i guess, the thing about zombie is, he’s doom metal pkd, he’s dreyer without the hope of the afterlife’s salvation, he’s the kind of bad trip that leaves you feeling, inexplicably, like you’re healed at the end of it - it’s not catharsis, but it’s something, and i’ve had this excerpt sitting in my drafts bin trying to find a place to go and it sums up my feelings on the lords of salem and zombie in general as well as anything:
There is no moral in this novel; it is not bourgeois; it does not say they were wrong to play when they should have toiled; it just tells what the consequences were. In Greek drama they were beginning, as a society, to discover science, which means causal law. Here in this novel there is Nemesis: not fate, because any one of us could have chosen to stop playing in the street, but, as I narrate from the deepest part of my life and heart, a dreadful Nemesis for those who kept on playing. I myself, I am not a character in this novel; I am the novel. So, though, was our entire nation at this time. This novel is about more people than I knew personally. Some we all read about in the newspapers. It was, this sitting around with our buddies and bullshitting while making tape recordings, the bad decision of the decade, the sixties, both in and out of the establishment. And nature cracked down on us. We were forced to stop by things dreadful. If there was any “sin,” it was that these people wanted to keep on having a good time forever, and were punished for that, but, as I say, I feel that, if so, the punishment was far too great, and I prefer to think of it only in a Greek or morally neutral way, as mere science, as deterministic impartial cause-and-effect.
I loved them all.
These were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The “enemy” was their mistake in playing. Let them all play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.
—a scanner darkly (philip k. dick, 1977).
i don’t think rob zombie’s for everyone. i really, really don’t, and i don’t think it’s my business, or anyone else’s, to make him so. haha, i’d probably be the first person yelling if i saw anyone try. but for me - that guy gets to me.
(bolded emphasis mine)
I never would have watched The Devil’s Rejects normally, what I’d heard about it didn’t appeal to me at all. But one night years ago I wound up drinking in a bar with the movie being projected on one wall; I was there with friends, actually pretty much everyone in the bar was a friend, but I felt trapped. Not by social pressure or anything, by the movie. I couldn’t turn away for the full length of it. By the time it ended my brain and my heart were both sick, and at total war with each other; I knew I’d just seen a work of genius that I don’t think I could ever bring myself to watch again (I still shudder a bit at the thought). I haven’t seen a lot of Zombie’s other work, and honestly some part of me has felt a bit relieved when people say his other movies are kind of crappy, because there’s a part of me that feels deeply ashamed at the thought that someone who makes movies as—not good, but as effective—as The Devil’s Rejects is out there making more of them and I can’t handle them.
The comparison to Philip K. Dick, a hugely formative and still important writer for me (despite, yes, some issues I have with his work), pretty much nails it, I think. I feel like if Zombie was adapting Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep (as opposed to remaking Blade Runner, mind you) he’d never want to discard the Mercerism thread, for example. A Scanner Darkly has already been done, and done well, but the idea of Zombie taking on Ubik or The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch just about knocks me out. I would watch, but I would be terrified to watch; it’s intense enough for me to read those stories, and personally I find a lot of things easier to take on the page than on the screen.
I especially appreciate, in this really, really excellent analysis (which, at least based on the notes, has not had nearly enough exposure), Tara’s absolute refusal to be didactic about Zombie’s importance; we need, or maybe I just need, more writing like this that grapples seriously with the strengths and importance of artists without insisting that due to those strengths everybody must get on board. Most artists I have any sort of affection or respect whatsoever for are not ones I think everyone can, should, or will love (PKD definitely included).
Somebody at Taco Bell Canada (probably stoned) must have remarked: “Canadians love fries with lots of stuff on top!” That is the only explanation for this only-in-Canada Taco Bell menu item, a bastardization of the least-Mexican Mexican food and an obvious stab at making “poutine,” fake-Mexican style. If you’re wondering when Canada will get the Taco Bell breakfast menu, the CEO has officially declared, “When you take Justin Bieber back.”
This is absolutely my favourite thing to get at Taco Bell and I am completely unashamed of my unholy love for it.
“When J.K. Rowling delivered her Commencement Address to Harvard graduates she very concisely described how I have been feeling for about a decade when she said “Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships.”
I also very much related to her when she wrote, in a lengthy and carefully-researched Times editorial on being a single parent, “Nobody who has ever experienced the reality of poverty could say ‘it’s not the money, it’s the message’. When your flat has been broken into, and you cannot afford a locksmith, it is the money. When you are two pence short of a tin of baked beans, and your child is hungry, it is the money. When you find yourself contemplating shoplifting to get nappies, it is the money.” It reminded me of those times when, as that student both working and studying and clawing at the very bottom of my bank account or as that Tottenham resident writing and calling everyone to find a job or financial support, I was always a few pence short of one thing or another. Petty, tiny amounts of money decided what I could or could not do, or eat, and similarly petty were the choices I made to save that money. Another long walk home in the driving rain to save a bus fare. No lunch so that I can pay back a library fine.”—
Ha, what an appropriate day to run into this post. I’m not in the UK and it sounds like things are a little more horrific there in general, but I identified painfully with a lot of this. Emphasis here mine.
The good news is, my interview skills haven’t gotten any rust on them, I aced the editing test, they might have more contracts coming open soon, and both of the managers who interviewed me think I’d be an excellent fit for the company and really encourage me to apply to anything else that comes up. They wish they had more positions to hire for! I might even get a call from someone else at the company, because the person I primarily dealt with is going to be circulating my resume. If they do give me a call, I won’t need to do the editing test again.
I don’t want anything to get lost in translation here: This is all genuinely good news. I’m not being snarky about it at all. Given the number of times you apply to things and get a blank wall in response, even just the feedback is so valuable (for my sanity if nothing else). I am certainly going to be keeping an eye on their job site to see if anything else comes up, and I really appreciate the call I got this morning.
But the bad news is, and I say this with absolutely zero rancour for the company or the people I dealt with—nice, smart, helpful people, people I would like to work with!—I still have to pay rent every month. I still need to buy at least a little food. If I want employers to be able to call me for interviews, I need to pay phone bills. If I want to be able to go to interviews/anywhere, I need to buy tokens. Etc.
One of the slogans of the 2011 Occupy protests was ‘capitalism isn’t working’. In an epic new book, French economist Thomas Piketty explains why they’re right. Andrew Hussey meets him
Normally I like to do these things as quotations instead, but this interview with Thomas Piketty is both so interesting and so irreducible to a shorter point that I’m just going to use a link. Basically, Piketty set out to actually get the data on inequality and the effects of capitalism, and some pretty entrenched economists are saying his book about that data is going to mark a pretty major turning point in how we think about this kind of thing. Okay, one quick quotation:
And what I found, as I said before, is that the speed at which the inequality gap is growing is getting faster and faster. You have to ask what does this mean for ordinary people, who are not billionaires and who will never will be billionaires. Well, I think it means a deterioration in the first instance of the economic wellbeing of the collective, in other words the degradation of the public sector. You only have to look at what Obama’s administration wants to do – which is to erode inequality in healthcare and so on – and how difficult it is to achieve that, to understand how important this is. There is a fundamentalist belief by capitalists that capital will save the world, and it just isn’t so. Not because of what Marx said about the contradictions of capitalism, because, as I discovered, capital is an end in itself and no more.
As he says elsewhere in the interview, we may well have guessed that “capital is an end in itself and no more” in the past, but he didn’t start from that conclusion; he started by amassing the data and that’s where he wound up. I’m going to have to read that book.
How’s this for a transparent dream? I was at an office going through some sort of orientation to start a job, signing forms and so on. But I was still very stressed out, because (as is true in waking life) I haven’t actually heard back from this place about whether I got the job or not. I still went through part of the process before it occurred to me in the dream that I should probably mention this fact to the lady who was guiding me through the forms (or rather, that if I didn’t mention it they might fire me). She didn’t seem upset about it at all, but rather than telling me I did have the job said she’d go get the guy who interviewed me. Eventually he showed up but had to do some other stuff before talking to me, and I woke up still thinking “well, he’s right here, nobody’s acting embarrassed or sorry for me, I must have the job, right? Why can’t they just tell me officially so I can finish filling out these forms?”
“I don’t believe in charity. I believe in solidarity. Charity is vertical, so it’s humiliating. It goes from the top to the bottom. Solidarity is horizontal. It respects the other and learns from the other. I have a lot to learn from other people.”—
“It’s also possible that chemical disrupters could affect people’s body chemistry on longer timescales — starting, for instance, before their birth. Contrary to its popular image of serene imperturbability, a developing foetus is in fact acutely sensitive to the environment into which it will be born, and a key source of information about that environment is the nutrition it gets via the umbilical cord. As David J P Barker, professor of clinical epidemiology of the University of Southampton, noted some 20 years ago, where mothers have gone hungry, their offspring are at a greater risk of obesity. The prenatal environment, Barker argued, tunes the children’s metabolism for a life of scarcity, preparing them to store fat whenever they can, to get them through periods of want. If those spells of scarcity never materialise, the child’s proneness to fat storage ceases to be an advantage. The 40,000 babies gestated during Holland’s ‘Hunger Winter’ of 1944-1945 grew up to have more obesity, more diabetes and more heart trouble than their compatriots who developed without the influence of war-induced starvation.”—
I’ve linked to this (longread) article before, but I’m doing it again because I find myself referring to it all the damn time. It’s BONKERS. Here are the three standout notions that I can’t stop thinking about:
We aren’t the only mammals getting fat, so it isn’t solely our shitty diets and sedentary lifestyles. Marmosets don’t have desk jobs or vending machines. Is it that stress doesn’t just make a creature eat more, but it makes a creature’s body hold onto calories better?
IRT the posted quote: Women who receive limited calories while pregnant (whether by choice or by circumstance) will often make babies whose bodies are “programmed” to store fat.
Capitalism created obesity by taking our poor-ass farmer ancestry and putting “their” metabolisms into our soft/squishy programmer/blogger bodies. This section of the article is particularly interesting. More: “Wells memorably calls this double-bind the ‘metabolic ghetto’, and you can’t escape it just by turning poor people into middle-class consumers: that turn to prosperity is precisely what triggers the trap. ‘Obesity,’ he writes, ‘like undernutrition, is thus fundamentally a state of malnutrition, in each case promoted by powerful profit-led manipulations of the global supply and quality of food.’”
It is easy to decry a broken system. It is harder to figure out how to live in it.
What must be made clear is that this is not a crisis of individual choices. It is a systemic failure - within higher education and beyond. It is a crisis of managed expectations - expectations of what kind of job is “normal”, what kind of treatment is to be tolerated, and what level of sacrifice is reasonable.
When survival is touted as an aspiration, sacrifice becomes a virtue. But a hero is not a person who suffers. A suffering person is a person who suffers.
If you suffer in the proper way - silently, or with proclaimed fealty to institutions - then you are a hard worker “paying your dues”. If you suffer in a way that shows your pain, that breaks your silence, then you are a complainer - and you are said to deserve your fate.
But no worker deserves to suffer. To compound the suffering of material deprivation with rationalisations for its warrant is not only cruel to the individual, but gives exploiters moral licence to prey.
Individuals internalise the economy’s failure, as a media chorus excoriates them over what they should have done differently. They jump to meet shifting goalposts; they express gratitude for their own mistreatment: their unpaid labour, their debt-backed devotion, their investment in a future that never arrives.
And when it does not arrive, and they wonder why, they are told they were stupid to expect it. They stop talking, because humiliation is not a bargaining chip. Humiliation is a price you pay in silence - and with silence.
People can always make choices. But the choices of today’s workers are increasingly limited. Survival is not only a matter of money, it is a matter of mentality - of not mistaking bad luck for bad character, of not mistaking lost opportunities for opportunities that were never really there.
“Take a moment right now to ask yourself what you are truly saying when you tell someone that they are too easily offended. That you value your ability to post rape jokes on Facebook more than you do their friendship? That the right to free speech is a one way street, open only to you and those agree with you? That you don’t care about something so long as it doesn’t directly affect you?
So I guess it all boils down to what kind of person you want to be – do you want to be someone who is caring and compassionate, someone who takes others’ feelings into consideration? Or do you want to be someone who is always right? Because there’s no way that you can be both.
Life is an ongoing exercise in empathy. As a human being, your job should be constantly learning how to make your own way in this world while causing as little harm as possible. Which is why I’m ultimately baffled when people wonder aloud if they’re supposed to look at everything critically and worry about its potential to harm others. Because yes. Yes, that is exactly what you are supposed to do.”—