Acts of Courage

And, as with other news stories in past weeks and months, I am returning to Emma Watson’s address at the UN on Saturday for another piece of discussion, through another lens of analysis.

I know that during the time I am returning again and again to this particular well, that there are many other stories I am leaving untold — it is that fact which sometimes leads me to have such vivid fantasies of winning the mega-millions and writing all the livelong day. Nevertheless, I find for myself that there is a value in looking deeply at one event from multiple lenses, rather than always popcorning to report on event after event according to the formula so brilliantly summed up by Kate Harding, back when she shuttered up Shapely Prose:

By last spring, I became increasingly aware that I was doing a lot of “Stock Intro A + Stock Feminism/Fat Acceptance Points B and C + Free-Form Outrage Interlude + Stock Conclusion D = done for the day,” and that is really not the kind of writing I want to be doing.

Rather than throwing myself over too strongly into “wind-up doll of feminist outrage mode,” I believe that by looking deeply at the multiple facets of one thing, I am sometimes better able to point to all the unconscious workings and cultural patternings that so interest me about the world and the patriarchy.

(And by “so interest me,” I mean “that I hope to name clearly in the vain hope that speaking the name of the Thing forces it to magically self-destruct like in the fairy tales.“)

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An Invitation to the Table

Emma Watson spoke at the UN General Headquarters yesterday. In her capacity as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador — a role to which she was appointed (invited?) in July — Watson was there to launch the HeForShe campaign, which describes itself as

a solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other [half?] of humanity, for the entirety of humanity.

Or, in simpler (and more idiosyncratic) phrasing: we’re in this patriarchal soup together, and together we have a better chance of getting to the next level of cultural evolution.

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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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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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Valhalla was Co-Ed

QUICK HIT: The choir season starts up again tonight, which means my Wednesday posts for the foreseeable future will have to be:

  1. Pre-written and scheduled
  2. Quick and somewhat insubtantial
  3. Non-existent in a “night off” kind of way)

Obviously, today I’ve chosen option 2. Well, not entirely obviously, since I could have pre-written and scheduled this post. But trust me: I didn’t do that. Because my life and to-do list are not currently at such a level of organization and under-controlness. I’d love to tell you otherwise, but I don’t have it in my to maintain that level of facade.

Where was I? Oh yeah: QUICK HIT tonight. In more ways than one. (Go below the fold to see what I mean…)

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Not Flawless, but Feminist

I watched the first 20 minutes or so of last week’s VMAs on the night of the telecast, using the miracle of DVR-time-shifting to watch a small bit of the ceremony after the True Blood finale concluded. And even though I wasn’t wearing my pre-cog goggles, I will say that the performances I watched had a bit of a feeling of prelude about them. Like I couldn’t have told you what the main event was going to be, but those opening acts most certainly were not it.

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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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