I’ve unsubscribed from all my travel mailing lists and Spanish groupon emails, I’ve scoured pedestrian.tv for jobs and noted down submission dates for a bunch of journals, I’ve reblogged a few of karaj’s posts, I’ve changed my current location on facebook. I’m home and I’m Very Serious about Being Home.
…I was pretty miserable through the whole process not because writing a dissertation is always already awful, although it can be, but rather I was trapped in a miserable cycle of using ideas I hated as a main pillar to cast my own ideas against. It was awful. Elizabeth Grosz pointed this all out to me by talking gently about how she writes and thinks. I was sitting in on a seminar she was teaching and she started talking about how she doesn’t respond to critiques anymore. She doesn’t not read them, but she doesn’t acknowledge them in her own work. She makes HER argument, she produces HER ideas on their own terms. She made Nietzsche and Deleuze make more sense in three weeks than I thought was humanly possible, but that’s where it came from for her. If you acknowledge the critique, if you build your entire idea as an answer to an opposing theory then you necessarily have to prove that theory, the one you disagree with or hate, as true in order to refute it. It was really simple and beautiful and changed the way that I write and think. It’s probably pretty frustrating to read because there is nothing to ground an argument in but the idea itself. I try to write productively, without the lack, the negative of an opposing view, because, quite frankly, I don’t want to be so fucking miserable all the time. Happiness is a real thing. Like Spinoza, I believe in joy.
I’ve been thinking all morning about intensity. Intensity is a measure of qualitative difference such that when divided in half it does not produce two equal parts. Changes in temperature, pressure, velocity—measured in intensity—are all qualitative differences. Intensity isn’t quantitative. Intensity is about states, not identities, not numbers. If you divided boiling water in half you wouldn’t get two half boiling temperature pots of water. When water reaches it’s most intense moment in the boiling process, when it passes a certain degree, the whole system shifts into water vapor. At its most intense water shifts into vapor. It doesn’t stay in that state indefinitely. Intensity doesn’t have maximums, intensity has limits at which things qualitatively change. Deleuze calls these moments of radical qualitative phase state shifts singularities. One of the big takeaways is that liquid water, has the potential of becoming vapor folded into its being. The folded, unseen potential for water to become vapor is the virtual. There is absolutely nothing symbolic about this process. It is actual. It is material. It is based in the laws of matter. Call it a realist ontology, call it thermo-dynamic philosophy, call it whatever you want, but it is definitely an articulation of living being, an ontology of difference. Such an ontology of difference wholly focuses on creation rather than elimination. There is no lack in this model, only making stuff of other stuff to make more new stuff. There are limits but no maximums…
In conclusion, never write, because you will only end up eaten by men, chewed up by men, spit on the sidewalk and stuck to the sole of a thirty dollar imitation leather oxford attached to the leg of the kinda guy who wears blazers over his t-shirt
“I was at the opening night of the One Direction movie, you know, 1D3D? I had the same sparkly fangirl backpack as a twelve-year-old in line, and I spent five minutes watching her watch me apply lipstick in my compact. On the brighter side, the feral intensity of that teen girl gaze is what I think can really weaponize narcissism, too. Like, sometimes I like to think about Tumblr, the ultimate zone of teen girl boredom and selfies as this giant mechanic assemblage with this languid temporal quality of waiting and scrolling and waiting and scrolling and how it’s this long moment that allows for a resistance to emerge and hold. But also I think about how Tumblr is just this processed excess of demand and desire, and it’s this very pressurized excess that literally flattens IRL persons like Harry Styles and Ryan Gosling into paper-thin templates. Almost like you can leach the life out of these characters, so instead there’s this vampiric community of sublimely narcissistic adolescent flesh, and I would be more than happy for the world to end with its knees buckling to this heterogeneous mass.”—
trisha low on her new book the compleat purge at bookslut. trisha and i had a class together a few years ago, but i didn’t really get to know her, because i was busy having that major depressive episode. however, i do remember telling people that i was impressed by this girl who regularly wore see-through tops to class. “she takes it even farther than i do!” excellent taste in bras. (via karaj)
not ashamed that i felt faint with delight when i saw this. i watched kara in that class (and beyond that class!) just like how that 1D3D fangirl watched me watch her while I applied lipstick in my mirror, which is to say with deep admiration; complicated, jealous worship and an inability to shatter the fourth wall - until now, i guess.
sometimes purge feels like a shadow, which is also how my tumblr couldn’t really be operative when i was writing (stalking as sisterhood? what is the threshold for creepiness on this anyway?). thinking about the ritual matricide of feminism and how the level, reflective planes here in tumblr can turn hero worship metabolic rather than into a straight massacre. i hate being grateful but i am grateful for this. also for mesh tops, and definitely for lingerie.
“I think that what’s important now is to mobilize hysteria as a quasi-revolutionary force. Hélène Cixous insists it is an inherently revolutionary power: it intervenes, breaks up continuities, produces gaps and creates horror—refusing conformity with what is. Feminism could benefit from an affirmation of hysteria; hysteria as a response to what is unacceptable and intolerable in life… as a response to emergency.” -Avital Ronell
“Instead of labeling some technologies and not others as assistive, let’s start like this: We’re all getting all kinds of help from the things we make. All kinds of help, all the time, for our many material and social and educational and political needs. Private needs and public ones. No one is exempt. Then the questions get really interesting: What can a body do? What needs are you interested in? Who might use which thing for what? Where might the surprises be? How might a familiar thing morph into something else altogether?”—
undergrads’ responses to a prompt on the kinds of cultural anxieties re: machines/animals/technology we see reflected in S/F, based on gender:
"i can be reasonably sure that I am not a machine or a cyborg, as there is substantial evidence to support this." vs. “i live in terror of not being able to connect to the internet,” & “maybe I’m a cyborg?” at least three girls referred to their electronics as “babies,” were much more inclined to talk about “emotions” as a marker of what it means to be human, and another identifying as a female gamer actually wrote, “some days, i call myself a dreamer.”
i feel like the problem with criticisms of sofia coppola’s movies is that her perspective is just so, so uniquely female and she allows femininity to touch every aspect of her narratives and that’s not something that reviewers or film industry insiders are used to
when marie antoinette came out at cannes it was booed and critics had a field day ripping it to shreds for not being historically accurate or focused on the politics of the french revolution and sofia coppola just had to come out and say “that wasn’t the fucking point i wanted to tell a story about a teenage girl and so i made narrative and stylistic choices that reflect the experiences and emotions of teenage girls it wasn’t supposed to be a true-to-life historical documentary calm down does looking at history from a stylized, female perspective really bother you that much”
and the criticism of the bling ring was similar critics were like “where’s the moral compass where’s the biting social commentary” like oh my god i’m sorry she didn’t hit you over the head with it i’m sorry she didn’t give you a neat conclusion i’m sorry her characters were morally grey i’m sorry that she’s using the language of young women in order to tell a story about young women and you’re too fucking dumb to recognize that because you’re so used to seeing films written by men and directed by men and starring men
“An honorable human relationship — that is, one in which two people have the right to use the word ‘love’ — is a process, delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.”—Adrienne Rich (via which-witch)
Estoy contento con tantos deberes que me impuse. En mi vida se amasaron extraños materiales: tiernos fantasmas que me despeinaban, categóricas manos minerales, un viento sin razón que me agitaba, la espina de unos besos lacerantes, la dura realidad de mis hermanos, mi deber imperioso de vigía, mi inclinación a ser sólo yo mismo en la debilidad de mis placeres, por eso -agua en la piedra- fue mi vida cantando entre la dicha y la dureza.
I have come to think of feminism itself as an experiment. I am not referring to the history of feminism as a political movement—a history that is harried and glorious, long, disrupted, tormented, and distinguished—but rather to academic literary feminism. I think every woman who has undertaken to write as a feminist theorist, no matter how officially sanctioned and safe her discourse has become, has experimented with her life. This is also true of anyone who writes or engages in any form of cultural production under the aegis of a subversive or progressive political movement, particularly what used to be called the new social movements, organized around the politics of subjectivity, or identity politics, in which the feminist slogan ‘the personal is political’ has great literal force.
The experimental nature of these endeavors has to do with an effort to address the separation of aesthetics from politics in the modern division of intellectual labor and in the institutional structure of academia. Frankfurt school, Birmingham school, and feminist theorists have insisted on reuniting realms of thought and practice sundered by modernity’s rationalism and rationalization. This insistence was an experiment in intellectual and academic realignment. Just as experimental writing asks whether it is possible to liberate in language what has been repressed by the cultures of extreme rationalization, the experiments of critical theory, cultural studies, and literary feminism ask whether it is possible to liberate in thought what has been repressed by disallowing the political dimension of cultural production and the aesthetic dimension of political life.
— “Jouissance, Cyborgs, and Companion Species: Feminist Experiment,” Marianne DeKoven
“Quality of urban life has become a commodity, as has the city itself, in a world where consumerism, tourism, cultural and knowledge-based industries have become major aspects of the urban political economy. The postmodernist penchant for encouraging the formation of market niches—in both consumer habits and cultural forms—surrounds the contemporary urban experience with an aura of freedom of choice, provided you have the money. Shopping malls, multiplexes and box stores proliferate, as do fast-food and artisanal market-places. We now have, as urban sociologist Sharon Zukin puts it, ‘pacification by cappuccino’. Even the incoherent, bland and monotonous suburban tract development that continues to dominate in many areas now gets its antidote in a ‘new urbanism’ movement that touts the sale of community and boutique lifestyles to fulfill urban dreams. This is a world in which the neoliberal ethic of intense possessive individualism, and its cognate of political withdrawal from collective forms of action, becomes the template for human socialization.”—David Harvey knows what’s up (via thedancingtoast)
quiero un cartel en la frente que pone que no me hables en inglés, quiero que desaparezca la comida (toda la comida), quiero que mi lengua haga lo que quiero que haga, quiero más tiempo y menos a la vez, quiero que llegue ella, quiero esa de la historia de los canguros, quiero drogas y quiero viajar, quiero cecear, y no quiero comer nunca, nada
“Being taken seriously means missing out on the chance to be frivolous, promiscuous, and irrelevant. The desire to be taken seriously is precisely what compels people to follow the tried and truth paths of knowledge production around which I would like to map a few detours. Indeed terms like serious and rigorous tend to be code words, in academia as well as other contexts, for disciplinary correctness; they signal a form of training and learning that confirms what is already known according to approved methods of knowing, but they do not allow for visionary insights or flights of fancy.”—Halberstam 2011: 6
I knew this was coming. Um, a normie is like, a genre of person that has been historically cast as complicit in hegemony by counter-culture markets. It’s a red herring. A “normal.” It’s a stand-in for value-neutralness. It’s like, a non-punk. In a lot of cases it is closely aligned with the ladybro. I like normie women because they are scapegoated by sexist subcultures and politicking as “upholding patriarchy and sexism.” Ladybros and women athletes are often normies. Mothers. Physical therapy majors. Teachers. And so on. These are often cast as normal and complicit in sexist ways. (Normie girl Bad Politic because doesn’t have short asymmetrical hair. Normie girl Uphold Patriarchy have job.) What I like about this broad un-category is that, in terms of taste, I really really really hate particular kinds of legibility, you know? I’m really not attracted to ways of dressing and being in public which fit neatly into oppositional categories which in my vision map neatly onto “still rebelling against rich parents, have not figured out how to dress self.” I mean I guess that’s fine, just not my type. I like the possibilities of leggings. I like that in their straightforwardness they can mean a lot of things. I am also interested in the pragmatism of “normal” “girls,” just, like, personally. I wanna know what kinds of jobs they do, and how they adapt. I mean, everyone does that, but I just see a lot more to relate to in girls like that. I hate punks.
taking jasmine to anastasia island state park for her 27th birthday
i wait outside the bathroom for you at the state park. i hang my long frame over the railing. why do we call a body a frame. i use the word without thinking. Real Women Have Curves. i have angles and ankles, nervous hands. i am outside woman and i am okay with that. there is a tension to being a dyke. not a binary tension but something else. one person has to be something else. to wait outside with the picnic. the sky is so big here near the beach, the wind pulls my dirty hair and balloons my windbreaker with the broken zipper, it makes me edgy. the blue and white. i squint and lean my foot on something and stretch absentmindedly. a weak boyfriend.
once somebody called me genderqueer i didn’t know what they meant. i am a bad butch because i don’t take up space. i am a bad radical because i like for people to have manners. (i am a social worker, which precludes a total rejection of institutions, so i cannot be That Cool.) the tension of being a dyke is something else, not like i imagine heterosexuality. i am the boyfriend because of my short hair and pegged pants and i drive the car when we go places, but i am also the wife, i want the baby and keep the house and lie still so you can fuck me. i mean, fuck me please, with your thick hips and soft white tits and long golden hair. i comb the knots out of it, like a governess or mother. sometimes when you fuck me you wear a harness that looks like stretchy boys’ underwear, with a gaping plastic mouth to hold the cock.
once my therapist called me a lesbian. at word, i told her. i am not a lesbian; i don’t have gay pride; i identify with shame. not gay shame but being a prude. the only person who knows what i mean by this hates me now. that’s an ugly loneliness.
you come out of the bathroom and i go in. there should be a separation between couples and maybe it has to do with the bathroom, maybe it has to do with tasks, doors, fluids. bodies at their least cute. the bathroom is damp and loud because there’s a hand dryer. i hate hand dryers and wipe the water off on my pants.
point i feel outside woman in a metaphysical, melancholy way. i’m not sure if it’s about femininity or the phallus or what. maybe it’s linguistic or psychoanalytic and all women feel this way. i don’t think it’s interesting or relevant or has anything much to do with patriarchy or oppression. some people will read this and contest my feeling outside woman altogether because so many people are further outside woman but all i can say is this essay is not about that.
this essay is about taking jasmine to the state park on her 27th birthday which means it’s about the cultural creation of picnics. i like picnics and my father hates them because they are a lot of work. my father is a True Capitalist. i like that it is non-rational to pack up your food and dishes, take them somewhere, eat at a hard picnic table in the wind or sun, and then take it all back home. i have faith in things that are clumsy and must defend themselves. i have faith in things that are non-rational.
counterpoint i say all this then i think the picnic, like the pastoral, relies on industrialization while setting itself in opposition to it. you have to make people stay inside all the time for a picnic to make sense, really. so a picnic relies on capitalism even as it seems outside it. we talk around these things lazily, as we squint in the sun and follow the boardwalk over the dunes. sounding uselessly smart is a thing we do without really noticing, like scratching at dandruff or getting up in the night to pee.
we sit on the cold bright sand for awhile and kiss. in florida you’re not supposed to go in the dunes because of erosion; in michigan you can. this has caused some tension in our relationship, your trying to climb these dunes, here. here, the beach is falling into itself like a toothless mouth. we have hurricanes and the high-rises could fall into the sea. you might step in a hidden clutch of soft turtle eggs. in michigan the dunes are soft white mountains, and in winter the lake-waves freeze into giant boulders on shore.
i need to stop writing about michigan or this essay will never end.
we walk back up the beach, and over the boardwalk, we put the rest of the picnic into my car, we climb a lighthouse, we drive home.
Nevada by Imogen Binnie is one of the best books I’ve read in a long time, or ever. Maria, Imogen Binnie’s narrator, is a punk trans lady who moved from a small town (Cow Town I think she calls it) to new york city, where she dissociates in and out of her own life. she talks about how her memory does and doesn’t work, she talks about her body, she borrow/steals her ex-girlfriend’s car and goes in a road trip. There’s been a lot of talk in the last year or so about the girl, the girl on the internet, and sometimes that’s been limiting/limited to a certain kind of girl, which sucks because there are so many girls and girl-stories that are not being represented. i have a giant crush on maria and she is a heartbreaking narrator: unreliable, flippant, casual, funny, devastating, fragile and tough and untouchable. she’s like that cool junior you met the first week of high school. this book feels like that crush, a bruise-y aching feeling.