Of Bread and Circuses

As a card-carrying “geek girl,” it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that I’ve been watching Game of Thrones since it debuted on HBO back in 2011. Besides, I made this fact clear last summer when I reminisced about using the show as a touchpoint of connection between Mr. Mezzo and myself back during the late spring & early summer of 2013 when we were living apart as part of the Great Northern Relocation.*

(For the spoiler-averse, I’m going to be talking more about last night’s GoT episode, as well as plot points from previous episodes. So if you’re not caught up and don’t want to have plot surprises reveled to you, stop now rather than clicking through to after the jump. For the rest of you, who are up-to-speed or who don’t give many fucks about the series, come on in!)

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A Piece of the Action

It case it hasn’t been made eminently clear by now, I am and have always been a “geek girl.”

[SIDEBAR] I’m using the irony-quotes because I don’t feel entirely comfortable with the dimunutive-ing effect of describing my 45-year-old self and interests as those of a “girl.” But “geek girl” is the general nomenclature, so there you go. [/SIDEBAR]

Being a female fan of things geeky has always been a source of cognitive dissonance for me, and I really don’t think I’m alone in this. After all, whatever aspirational role models I could find in that world always had at least a teaspoon of misogyny soup in the mix. Black Canary may kick ass, but she’s only allowed to do so in fishnets and a ridiculous leather bustier.* Princess Leia is strong enough to wield a blaster pistol and withstand torture in Star Wars, but by Return of the Jedi, there is she is stuck in the nouveau sci-fi version of the chainmail bikini.

For every mark in the “W” column, there’s another loss. For every Buffy, there’s a Bella.

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All Hallows’ Eve Eve

Well, I’ve been half-avoiding the topic, but there’s no denying that it’s Hallowe’en tomorrow.  Mr. Mezzo and I didn’t get any trick-or-treaters last year, but we still have some candy on hand. We’ll turn on the front porch light and will set out a few seasonal decorations tomorrow evening, just in case anyone comes through the neighborhood looking for treats.

But I won’t be taking the time to get dressed up in costume.

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Many Hands Make Light(er) Work

I am usually able to sustain a pace of approximately one essay per day here on JALC. Certainly, I have fantasies of writing lots more than that: sometimes those fantasies express themselves in the desire to write shorter or faster posts — which is probably obvious, considering the number of times I (falsely) promise at a post’s outset to write something quick. Usually, though, these fantasies take the shape of the “megamillions dream” — the notion of suddenly, magically having enough financial resource that I could stop working for other people’s companies and instead write all day.  The interesting thing, as I’ve been studying these fantasies, is that I’m not in any self-delusion about the writing being quick and effortless.

i_poop_rainbowsI can’t find it now, but I remember reading some snarky-brilliant quote once about how “everyone wants to have written a novel, but very few people actually want to do the work of writing said novel.” I get that writing take work. Between research, drafting, outlining, writing, editing, and posting, I usually spend between 2-3 hours per night here on JALC. So I’m not imagining that essays will magically spring from my typing fingers like unicorns shitting rainbows. However, the thought of having 10-12 hours a day I could devote to those tasks, and the idea of what I could produce in that sort of space? I cannot deny it’s a seductive notion.

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The Ethics of Looking, Part 2

660px-J.P._Losman_tackled_in_the_end_zone_by_Ty_Warren_2006-09-10I mentioned recently that I’m a sports fan. I grew up watching Pittsburgh Steelers games on TV with my Dad, and then as the Bill Belichick era commenced, added the Pats to my regular Sunday rooting roster. I’m not the number crunching, stats analyzing, fantasy football-playing kind of fan, but I know my linebacker from my running back, and I can get passionate enough during a game to yell at the television set — as if my voice will magically fly through the ether to affect play in favor of whichever team I have labeled to be “the good guys.”

I mention all of this because I am still wondering about the ethics of what we choose to watch — only this time, I don’t have the benefit of getting all up on my morally superior soapbox like I did last night. Tonight, I am contemplating my own complicity in supporting the NFL’s culture of violence and misogyny.

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Peeping Thomas

Tucked in the back of the Philadelphia Art Museum‘s modern galleries is a peculiar, enigmatic piece by Marcel Duchamp. Etant donnes was the artist’s final work*: he spent the final two decades of his life working on the piece after telling the world that he had retired from art-making. Upon his death, the work was discovered and, as per the stipulations of Duchamp’s will, installed at the PMA never to be moved or lent out to other sites.

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Avert Your Eyes

I lead a strange sort of double-life when it comes to things popular and pop-culture-like. On the one hand, I feel as if I live my life on the “geek culture” fringe — as evidenced, I’m sure, by past references to Comic-Con staples like Joss Whedon, True Blood and Game of Thrones. There’s lots of big “mainstream” hits and trends — Survivor, American Idol, Real Housewives all spring to mind — which have in their own time and place saturated the airwaves, and yet which I have never ever seen. Quite frankly, sometimes my monastic schedule, with its endless cycle of work, write, study, sleep, even keeps me from staying up-to-date on geek culture. (This many weeks later, and I still haven’t seen Guardians of the Galaxy. Guess that’s another membership card I’ll be handing in…)

On the other hand, my continued engagement with mainstream morning news (GMA) and print journalism (Entertainment Weekly) means I have a pretty good sense of what the pop culture trends and happenings are, moment to moment.

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