Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Quoted: John D'emilio on same-sex marriage

Rather than thinking of marriage for same-sex couples as providing access to benefits currently denied them, it might be mire accurate and revealing to think of marriage as validating and sustaining privilege that one already has. Why do I claim that? Because marriage is not something randomly distributed across the population, with finding one's life partner or soul mate being the key factor in whether one marries. Instead, those least likely to marry are those nearest the bottom of the economic and educational pyramid; those most likely are those with higher economic status and educational attainment. Marriage penalizes those who are struggling economically. For low-income families, marriage makes it harder to get access to public benefits. When working-class marriages end in divorce, the economic impact on adults and children is often devastating. -- John D'Emilio "The Campaign For Marriage Equality" from In A New Century
Before I add anything (and I do want to add things), John D'Emilio is a well-respected LGBT activist and writer, not some right-wing ideologue who wants to deny rights to gay people. While I don't entirely agree with him -- I'm not fan of marriage, period -- I think he makes a valid point comparing today's climate of LGBT rights and its overwhelming focus on marriage to feminism's long-standing problems with intersectionality. Gay people aren't a monolith, though, and some want to get married, have a white picket fence, 2.5 children, the big American dream -- no matter how big a lie the American dream is. I still respect that. But I also see the need for anti-assimilationist arguments largely shut of out mainstream LGBT politics.

Monday, October 20, 2014

My WIP via the internets

Over the past few weeks, I've written a few preliminary scenes or chapter sketches that may or may not end up in my NaNo novel. For fun, I decide to run what I had through a few online classifiers. Here's what I got.

I Write Like

Story intro: James Joyce
short passage about MC's past which includes shoplifting and vandalism: Chuck Palahniuk

Conclusion: my writing is muddled and full of swear words. Also, I Write Like is really addictive and ego-boosting.

Seriously, I don't think either of these is terribly far off. I tried writing the intro with a definite "voice" that bordered on free writing. And I actually like Chuck Palahniuk a lot and see myself aping his style every once in a while. I tried it with another short story I wrote a while back that dealt most with gender roles and male-female relationships and got Margaret Atwood.

uClassify

Gender Classifier
female: 76.2%
male: 23.8%

My MC is indeed a girl.

Age Classifier (top three)
26-25: 21.5%
18-25: 19.9 %
65-100: 19.4%

She's nineteen. So close enough? Most of what I write falls in that funny gray area of being a little too sophisticated for YA. I don't know which part pegged me a senior citizen.

Classics (top three)
1. Frank Baum
2. Oscar Wilde
3. Mark Twain

I think Wilde is the modern fiction everyman here.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Princess Culture

Essays on princess culture make me hyper-aware that there are some apparently crucial aspects of girlhood I completely missed. (Granted, I didn't know who Lisa Frank was until I was thirty-five.)

Raise your hand if you had no interest in being a princess.

Most of it, I think is generational. I was already well into my teens when The Little Mermaid debuted. Fairy tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty I deemed "baby" before kindergarten, so that was that. And the sole real life princess I could identify was Diana. I remember watching the royal wedding out of  a sense of daughterly duty, but I didn't get it. I didn't get why I was supposed to be obsessed with this particular fantasy.

I didn't eschew all fantasy play. I loved anything with a witch in it. I flew my star wars characters around in a Barbie beauty salon pretending it was their spaceship. I wanted to be a rock star and tied scarves around a broom handle to play that I was Steve Tyler. When I didn't want to be a rock star, I wanted to be an MTV Vee-Jay like Downtown Julie Brown.

None of these things seem out of the realm of typical 80s childhood, so my guess is that it is generational. In that respect, I'm glad my girlhood wasn't sponsored by Disney, but as Laurie Penny stated in her book, every girl has a princess in her head. Mine was misplaced at the factory.

Another thing that most women neglect to mention is how class and femininity are intrinsically tried. Girl stuff is consumer stuff. There were few "girly girls" in my neighborhood. I didn't even here the phrase "girly girl" until I was in my twenties. Had I as a six or seven year old, worn a tiara or a tutu to school, I would have gotten my ass kicked. (Actually, the nuns at my school would have slapped me with a dress code violation first.)

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Cornel West among arrested protester in Ferguson

(Ignore the comments at the link: They're predictably full of stupid.)

From The St. Louis Post Dispatch:
After a long standoff in heavy rain, about 10 to 15 clergy members who had offered themselves for arrest were taken into custody about noon today at the city police station, protest organizers said. Among those arrested was Cornel West, a Baptist minister, activist and commentator who has been in St. Louis for the weekend of protests, they said. A police dispatcher said no supervisor was available immediately to confirm the arrests or charges.
On a related note, police have reverted back to some of the militaristic tactics they were condemned for during August's protests.