Doodle from Sylvia Plath's diary -- picture via this tumblr.
I meant for this to post way earlier in the month. But apparently it didn't? I'm not sure -- I'm dazed and confused and have missed an entire week of books and internet. Been MIA lately due to a death in the family. So there's been a lot of crying and binge-eating of Cheetos. Please bear with me.
I worry that the phrase "costume drama" has a sexist origin - used by male critics as a perjorative term about screen adaptations of mainly female writers : George Elliot, Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë. To charge Austen or Elliot as being writers concerned only with the surface - what people are wearing - seems an extraordinary injustice to visionaries of our inner life. It also seems to diminish anything that is set before now, and it would appear to me to be an arrogance of the present to assume that anything set in the past is by default less interesting or more surface than the present.
Tom Hooper, on his film The King's Speech, Link
Congrats to Hooper, btw, for winning Best Director and Best Picture in last night's Oscars. Justin Bieber's fans are pretty upset.
Kids used to have a whole lot of spare time, middle-class kids anyhow. Outside of school and if they weren’t into a sport, most of their time was spare, and they figured out more or less successfully what to do with it. I had whole spare summers when I was a teenager. Three spare months. No stated occupation whatsoever. Much of after-school was spare time too. I read, I wrote, I hung out with Jean and Shirley, I moseyed around having thoughts and feelings, oh, lord, deep thoughts, deep feelings. . . . I hope some kids still have time like that. The ones I know seem to be on a treadmill of programming, rushing on without pause to the next event on their schedule, the soccer practice the playdate the whatever. I hope they find interstices and wriggle into them. Sometimes I notice that a teenager in the family group is present in body — smiling, polite, apparently attentive — but absent. I think, I hope she has found an interstice, made herself some spare time, wriggled into it and is alone there, deep down there, thinking, feeling.
Ursula LeGuin, Link
I'm sorry President Obama told you guys to win the future--that was bullshit. Please just survive the moment.
Jim Behrle, Link
I want to write love poems about people in coffee shops and at bookstores. Dear Cutie with the Middlemarch and the Latte, it would be nice to make out with you, etc.
Jim Behrle, Link
You need the arts—literature, music, film—as a universal language that allows people to see beyond the walls that separate us. To stop thinking of each other as different religions, or different cultures, or different ethnicities, or nationalities, and start thinking of each other as human beings. As people with the same aspirations, and the same dreams, the same conflicts and the same issues. It’s only through that recognition of same-ness that you really do change people’s minds.
the truth is that there is a kid in Los Angeles right now that has more in common with a kid in Indonesia because they like the same music and the same movies, than either of them have in common with their own communities. So the very concept of society has shifted. This is one thing that I never get tired of talking about, that from the dawn of humanity the definition of society and community was geographically defined. Community means, who is around me; who’s next to me? That’s my community. Until twenty years ago. From when we started walking upright to about twenty years ago, that’s what society meant. And it doesn’t mean that anymore.
Interview with Reza Aslan @ Guernica, Link
[A guy I knew] died of an asthma attack for want of an inhaler, but that’s the insurance industry for you. As far as I’m concerned, pay-to-play access to medicine constitutes class warfare; his death was a war crime.
Interview with Justin Taylor @ The Rumpus, Link
The reason the scaremongers and the vitriolic were so quick to be blamed is because people recognized how hate-filled our public debate has become. When you rally hate and disgust in other people, for the sake of viewership or political advancement, it’s difficult to control the results.
Jessa Crispin, Link
...women are not a genre, or their own special medium, even if some critics treat them like they are.
Jessa Crispin, Link
Critics can’t be afraid of hurting someone’s feelings with writing so caustic it goes down the mental hatch like battery acid. They must be assertive, authoritative, outspoken and downright ballsy -- all traits traditionally associated with men. That’s not to say plenty of women don’t have what it takes, but an assertiveness double standard exists. A man who is self-assured and outspoken is often considered strong and simply doing what a man’s got to do, but a woman of the same ilk is bitchy, demanding, and pushy. Where a man is tough, a woman has a lot of nerve... I’ve wondered if there are fewer female critics in prominent publications not because we aren’t out there, but in part because the combination of ambition, intelligence, and audacity does not always work in a woman’s favor.
Alizah Salario, Link
However repugnant you might find the attitudes you find among your community of origin, it’s the only one you’ll ever have, and you’ll always crave the acceptance of those whose acceptance you craved early in life. A hallmark of the kind of adult maturity to which I aspire is the acceptance of these kinds of difficult things, and a cultivation of a way of being in the world that allows them to exist in tension without undoing any chance at happiness. I wish for friends as dear as I once imagined my old friends held me. I wish, too, for a way to reconcile with old friends I’ve lost. I can see a future ahead that is full of contradictions and uglinesses, but also good relationships, comings-to-understandings, newfound pathways to decency. I want to believe these things are possible and then work to make them possible. In the words of the narrator of Andrew Hudgins’s Heat Lightning in a Time of Drought: “I wish my soul were larger than it is.” Maybe it can be.
Kyle Minor, Link
And from "The Body", by performance poet Sonya Renee:
The body is not meant to be prayed for, it is meant to be prayed to.