Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Quoted: Susan Sontag on women "writing out of their femininity"

If women have been conditioned to think that they out to be writing out of their femininity, writing out of their feelings, that intellect is masculine, that thinking is this brutal and aggressive thing, then of course they're going to write different kinds of poems, prose, or whatever. But I don't see any reason why a woman can't write anything a man writes, and vice versa. -- Susan Sontag from Jonathan Cott's The Complete Rolling Stone Interview 
Minus its full context as part of a longer interview that runs wild on topics such as feminism, illness, intellect, and everything in between, it sounds a little simplistic and antediluvian to proclaim that yes, of course, woman can "write it all," but it still rings true today: women are expected to "write out their feelings."

Of course, there are more women today writing work that is "hard" or "masculine" (I'm very carefully using these words to describe the writing, not the writer) than there were nearly forty years ago, when she gave the interview, but I don't think much has changed, In fact, it's almost become even more difficult for a woman to write without being pigeonholed as a "woman writer."

Monday, April 21, 2014

Drag Race and the "She-Mail" Controversy

I haven't really said much about this. Not being a trans woman or a drag queen, it's really not my place to, but I am a fan of the show, and I'm glad that RuPaul and Logo have finally addressed his use of slurs against trans women. Anyway, I think this article  is worth a look (even if you don't agree and I suspect more than a few don't) for a nuanced take at the controversy and especially its acknowledgement of the intersection of drag and trans and the evolution of language.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Camp NaNo: Week Three

By the third week of NaNoWriMo, you're either coasting or have come to the conclusion that your story is so patently ridiculous that trying to wrangle it into a proper novel is fruitless. I'm enjoying ride number two.

Its not so ridiculous, I know. There's probably a story in there, but right now I just want to finish this "scrub" draft and get on with it. My early drafts are so dialogue-heavy they read more like scripts than novels. In theory, I don't think this is a bad thing: I'm letting the characters tell the story (so I like to believe), but so much useless chatter. Shut up already.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Shelving: Here We Are Now: The Lasting Impact of Kurt Cobain by Charles R. Cross

Charles Cross's Here We Are Now is a good idea, but I think it only skims the surface.  I like that instead of writing another biography, Cross takes a thoughtful look at Kurt Cobain's lasting influence, which, given the scant amount of music he put out in his short life (there isn't even much to mine through as there is other long-dead artists), is undeniably huge. It's a little hagiographic, but that's to be expected, I guess.  As someone who was only a casual fan of Nirvana's music I've always looked at Cobain and his influence not only on music but only culture in general. I've always seen him as part of a larger picture, a culture that was already shifting, and he became the unfortunate recipient of the kind of mainstream success that, during the 80s and early 90s, ran counter to being "indie" or "alternative." (Two words that are absolutely meaningless now.) I've read enough things that's said he did, in fact, court that success, but as someone who was a teenager during Nevermind's run, it was something that always rang a little false to me.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Links & Bits: 4/18/14 has a nice feature  on MSNBC's Steve Kornacki.

More banning of LGBT-themed books

Happy 10th birthday Feministing!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Hashtag actvisim

Overall I like Michelle Goldberg, and I understand where her (albeit overarching and shrouded in privilege) theory about the current crop of hashtag activists is coming from,  but political correctness -- if you want to call it that --  isn't a new or particularly cyclical thing. It's that the tools to enforce it are different than they were even five or ten years ago. The immediacy twitter or tumblr has to offer makes activism seem fresh and patently democratic, at least compared to the channels previous generations would have to go through to protest something.

My biggest issue with Tumblr activism is that anyone can call themselves one. Someone with twenty-plus years fighting for civil rights has the same platform as a thirteen-year-old with an agenda. And it's often the loudest, not the smartest, voices that are heard.