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(no subject) [Dec. 6th, 2005|08:53 pm]
[mood |restless]

Michel Foucault is today's featured article on Wikipedia.

It's way too late to be this locked inside ourselves
The trouble is that you're in love with someone else
It should be me, it should be me

Now seasoned with health
Two lovers walk a lakeside mile
Try pleasing with stealth, rodeo
See what stands long ending fast

Paul Banks is so hot.
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(no subject) [Dec. 5th, 2005|12:00 pm]
[mood |drained]

I finished the short story for workshop, then promptly came back to my room, closed all my story collection books, and re-shelved them. Too many words for one weekend. I came out with a story that's quality in some places, lacking in others. The first page:

The Wolves Have DisappearedCollapse )
It's about a brilliant young man who gets a book of gender criticism published at 17 when he gets involved with a prominent professor. Yeah.

Tired. It's snowy. White.
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(no subject) [Dec. 3rd, 2005|06:01 pm]
Talked to dad on the phone yesterday, told him I got the coffeemaker he sent. Things will be alright maybe.

I've been reading so many short stories lately, maybe to help me write my workshop story for next week's composition [the last]. I've had a lot of interesting, provocative ideas, but none that I've been able to work to completion.

I read maybe the only story by Joy Williams that I haven't liked, "Anodyne," from her newest collection, Honored Guest. Hm, maybe I didn't dislike it, but I don't think it's up to par with her other work. Maybe it was my punishment for going to the table of contents to find the shortest story in the book. It was certainly interesting, and precise in that Joy Williams way. Revisiting the mother-daughter relationship, the mother quitting yoga and starting gun lessons, both of them diabetic, the father dead. It just felt a bit more bland than was forgivable. Oh well. I still love her work so much, she's one of the most unappreciated, unknown writers. It doesn't help that she publishes books very rarely, so she doesn't get exposure with people outside the literary crowd that reads things like Granta.

Williams is one of the best examples of a fiction writer I can think of who can express her worldview or politics while fitting it within the story.

"There's a big river there, a big attraction, that runs right past all the shops and restaurants and that's all lit up with fairy lights," the Marksman said. "Tourists take cruises on it and stroll beside it. They promenade," he said in a careful voice. "Once a year, they pump the whole thing out, the whole damn river, and clean it and then put the water back in again. They scrub the bottom like it was a bathtub and fill it up again. What do you think about that?"

My hands were damp. I was beginning to worry about this, but my mother always said there was nothing more useless than dreading something you weren't understanding.

"People have lost their interest in reality," the Marksman said.

Another recent read with a better passionless narrator, I think, was in Judy Budnitz's "Flush," originally published in McSweeney's. It starts like this:

I called my sister and said: What does a miscarriage look like?
What? she said. Oh. It looks like when you're having your period, I guess. You have cramps, and then there's blood.
What do people do with it? I asked.
With what?
The blood and stuff.
I don't know, she said impatiently. I don't know these things, I'm not a doctor. All I can tell you about anything is who you should sue.

It's hard to write disengaged narrators. Well it's hard to write them and have the story turn out seeming significant or "good." Back to trying to write something I'm not ashamed of my class reading.
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(no subject) [Dec. 1st, 2005|10:27 am]
[mood |ugh]

A little frustrated lately. Feeling whiny. I don't know how I feel about going home. Or I do know how I feel but can't articulate it. Or something.

People don't know what I did on my 19th birthday. Already having established my pattern of going to bed as late as possible so I could sleep through the day, I woke up in the early afternoon and listened to my mother sobbing through the door. My room is adjacent to hers, and I don't know if the noise was coming from in there or from downstairs. I had my stash of Benadryl so I could go back to sleep if necessary, but I just lay in bed and stared at the wall. I looked at the doorknob and wondered if it was locked. If it wasn't locked and she came in, I'd have nowhere to go except out the window. I thought about that option and it didn't sound too bad. My birthday was grand. Fuck everything. The summer was a sleepy, dark haze; I was constantly avoiding things, that is, when I could avoid them; other times, I just cried. I wanted to get under the bed but I felt like I could be found even there. When I think about doing that again, waiting to fall out the window onto some spiky object, all of my bones breaking, I feel this dread that's disgusting. I haven't been home since the summer. Winter break. If it is the same way I don't know what I will do. If Christmas rolls around and I sit in my room, afraid to even go to the bathroom we share because my mother could be standing there, demanding answers about my disgusting gay life, I think I could literally do something crazy. I get so bitter and jealous of other people sometimes I could scream. I could fall out the window.

I've been such a bad student lately. Sigh.

I saw an Asian grrl the other day and thought how great I'd look in what she was wearing. I could coordinate it better, too--a black skirt, grey turtleneck, short wool jacket, tan pumps. How I'd curl my hair in the morning, drink black coffee to get ready. People would stare.

In a mood again. I don't feel like being alone but it's what I conditioned myself to. I still don't feel like it though.
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(no subject) [Nov. 28th, 2005|01:17 am]
[mood |moody]

Your dating personality profile:

Liberal - Politics matters to you, and you aren't afraid to share your left-leaning views. You would never be caught voting for a conservative candidate.
Sensual - You are not particularly shy when it comes to your sexuality. You know what you like and do not feel inhibited.
Intellectual - You consider your mind amongst your assets. Learning is not a chore but a constant search after wisdom and knowledge. You value education and rationality.
Your date match profile:

Intellectual - You seek out intelligence. Idle chit-chat is not what you are after. You prefer your date who can stimulate your mind.
Practical - You are drawn to people who are sensible and smart. Flashy, materialistic people turn you off. You appreciate the simpler side of living.
Shy - You are put off by people who are open books. You are drawn to someone who is a bit more mysterious. You want to draw him out of his shell and get to know what he is all about.
Your Top Ten Traits

1. Liberal
2. Sensual
3. Intellectual
4. Adventurous
5. Stylish
6. Practical
7. Big-Hearted
8. Shy
9. Funny
10. Wealthy/Ambitious
Your Top Ten Match Traits

1. Intellectual
2. Practical
3. Shy
4. Adventurous
5. Wealthy/Ambitious
6. Funny
7. Sensual
8. Stylish
9. Conservative
10. Traditional

Take the Online Dating Profile Quiz at Dating Diversions


Break was fine and I am at the point in the semester where I mostly don't give a crap anymore. It's nice that I (mostly) figured out my academic stuff this semester, but I'm in only one class that has anything to do with my plans right now, and maybe not even that. Tomorrow I'm presenting with my education group, there are two more composition workshops (one of which will include my story), a 12-15 page education research paper (oh geez I hope I get an extension), the "earth around us" continues to exist somehow, and the psych final (all essays) will likely sodomize me (not in a good way). Oh well. In a "mood." At least people are back.
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(no subject) [Nov. 25th, 2005|07:53 pm]
Break. Other than being sick, it's been nice.

Saw Rent with Gail yesterday. I had heard the songs before so I had an idea of what to expect but didn't know the particulars of the plot. And we were both crying for the last half hour or so of the movie, so that part's a bit hazy. Of course, I watch all movies with a critical eye [in some cases unfortunately] so I can see what Roger Ebert [not one of my favorite critics; he is too kind and not academic ;)] means when he writes "On film, 'Rent' is the sound of one hand clapping. It is not a bad film. It may be about as good a film as the material can inspire."

Speaking of great films, I caught some of the steaming pile that is Showgirls the other day. A romantic moment courtesy of IMDb:

Nomi Malone: You can fuck me when you love me.
James Smith: But I do love you.
Nomi Malone: Yeah right.
James Smith: You don't fool me. I see you.
Nomi Malone: Yeah? What do you see?
James Smith: I see you hiding.
Nomi Malone: From what?
James Smith: From you.

So moving! Have I mentioned how much I miss TV? Since it's break, virtually all the lounges are free so I can catch stuff on the Style network and VH1, and "What Not to Wear" and...whatever other crap is on. It's just so nice for us kids who were raised with the TV talking to us. I live in perpetual bitterness at the UNC people who get free cable in their rooms and the Duke people who get HBO...Grrr. Strangely enough, one of the things I miss the most is Food Network. In NC, I put it on in the background sometimes and just let Paula Deen or Tyler Florence or Jamie Oliver or whoever talk. I think Harper's had an article semi-recently about Food Network and how its sexiness and commodity affect its success. And Camille Paglia accuses intellectuals/academics of hating television. [Though some do of course.] [I know TV is pretty much crap, and takes time away from when I could be reading enriching things, but it's very interesting in a postmodern way and to theorize about media you've got to be familiar with media, so, yeah. You can be involved in the world that the TV creates (some hyperreality) but also be detached enough to understand what you're doing--you can see yourself watching TV as well as just watching. Maybe, or something.] I've told Jonathan, before I'd have a nice car, I'd have a well-equipped, dependable, and recordable TV.

It's snowed here but a lot of it has melted. Winter is my favorite season in general but NY winters are definitely different from NC or even DC winters.
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(no subject) [Nov. 22nd, 2005|11:22 pm]
Thanksgiving break starting sooooon.

I found a section from Judith Halberstam's Female Masculinities which addresses "The Bathroom Problem"! It's exciting because I might use it in personal writing (writing that's not for a class, imagine that). I just think the Bathroom as a gendered public sphere that pushes and pulls the problematic to the point where it's both invisible and imminently obvious [phew] is incredibly interesting.

The accusation "you're in the wrong bathroom" really says two different things. First, it announces that your gender seems at odds with your sex (your apparent masculinity or androgyny is at odds with your supposed femaleness); second, it suggests that single-gender bathrooms are only for those who fit clearly into one category (male) or the other (female). Either we need open-access bathrooms or multigendered bathrooms, or we need wider parameters for gender identification. The bathroom, as we know it, actually represents the crumbling edifice of gender in the twentieth century. The frequency with which gender-deviant "women" are mistaken for men in public bathrooms suggests that a large number of feminine women spend a large amount of time and energy policing masculine women. Something very different happens, of course, in the men's public toilet, where the space is more likely to become a sexual cruising zone than a site for gender repression...The men's room...constitutes both an architecture of surveillance and an incitement to desire, a space of homosocial interaction and of homoerotic interaction.

Fabulous, though I wish she had gone more in-depth with the Lee Edelman reference (and the issue in general)--gender theory people, are there any other prominent bathroom studies along the lines of this? Not social psych. No offense to social psych people, but I've had enough psych thinking lately.

Surveillance, policing, liminality--augh, coming from NCSSM, living in (what felt to me to be) incredibly oppressive single-sex halls and spaces, it's just liberating for the questions to be posed in a coherent verbal manner rather than unconsciously spliced in-between stupidass hall meetings and heterocentric rose-givings for convocations.

And for fun, Butler has a section in Undoing Gender called "Heterosexuality" which begins:

It would be a mistake to say that I am against it. I just think that heterosexuality doesn't belong exclusively to heterosexuals. Moreover, heterosexual practices are not the same as heterosexual norms; heterosexual normativity worries me and becomes the occasion of my critique...The "am" of "I am a man" encodes the prohibition "I may not love a man," so that the ontological claim carries the force of prohibition itself.

Haha. Yes.
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mmmmm flagellate me [Nov. 21st, 2005|09:32 pm]
[mood |blank]


Sometime, my rife hurting inside.
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sick sick [Nov. 21st, 2005|07:56 pm]
[mood |sick]

For the first time, I actually got into all the classes I pre-registered for. Sweet.

And I'm getting sick again, why and how? Hopefully I can get over it over the break.

I'm re-reading parts of Camille Paglia's Sex, Art, and American Culture, for some reason. She's terrible, really. I've struggled with her a lot. Well--I respect her injecting dissent into feminist discourse, or her wanting to inject intelligent dissent into feminist discourse. But what she really does is just trash other people's intellect and, basically, complain in a readable style while purporting to say something about where art and sexuality need to go. Calling someone exclusive, pretentious, nerdy (calling a philosopher, like Foucault, nerdy and heady is a pretty funny thing to do) is quite easy and she does it quite frequently. She's guilty of name-dropping and arrogance just as much as any of the academics she frequently trashes. And just for fun--"Everyone of my generation who preached free love is responsible for AIDS." She said this not in an offhand interview, but in an article that has been printed and reprinted. This woman, who also calls The Second Sex "brilliant" and "imperious." She got that right, but somehow skipped or dismissed about 99% of the other relevant, interesting feminist theory of the past fifty years. She also constantly reminds us that she is "radically pro-pornography, pro-prostitution, pro-abortion, and pro-legalization of drugs." We don't have Phyllis Schlafly here but ... Paglia certainly has her own category, whatever it is.

I actually wrote a bunch here about my thoughts on her but deleted it...maybe just read her thoughts on Judith Butler and make up your own mind. It's only the tip of the iceberg, though. Tell me if you want to hear about the other stuff and I'll tell you. Or maybe I'll get so enraged I'll make another post. I can imagine having her as a professor: "Bryan, you really should watch Monday Night Football, see what homosexuality really means. Those men, their innate strength and wild sexual bodies, pulsating with hormones. It's all essential, don't you see? Don't you see what those horrible academic feminists have done to you, revealing performativity and intellectual subversion, letting you read French theorists, HIDING Freud from you then insulting him?" If I could resist projectile vomiting all over her, I'd have to say "We read Freud in my women's studies class, actually. Then we read Lacan and Irigaray, not the way you say." Not to mention her romanticization of some imaginary little woman that apparently lives within every female (and gay male) that wants to be patronized, chased, and finally brutalized and raped by some shiny, muscled man. Ugh, don't even get me started.

In happier news, I watched the first part of Angels in America with Gail the other night. I had forgotten how much I loved it (and a lot of the plot points; the thing is so long).

And I'm starting work on a new project for K.R., working on Pocahontas research. Ever since I saw the Disney movie I wondered about Pocahontas. Not really anything in particular but just a general curiosity. And the short SNL Robert Smigel montage that included a nice porn, "Poke-a-hotass." Eh.

Back to work...
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bc i lse thngs i gt othr thngs [Nov. 18th, 2005|01:46 am]
[mood |lazy]

So I've lost my lighter and this cool lipstick I got last week. Losing things makes me mad and arouses my OCD ire like none other. Not only have you lost the utility, but you've made a mistake; you haven't stuck to your routine (or even made one...)

Jonathan saw the new Harry Potter tonight--through luck, he and Diana got two tickets even though the movie was sold out when they got to Southpoint. I thought it must have involved scalpers, but apparently not. He describes it as a "Hot Ass movie" (HAm).

NYU sent me a card about summer institutes and their bulletins and I was actually excited until I realized that it was the School of Continuing and Professional Studies that sent me the stuff.

I hope I get to do a lot of personal reading this weekend, like always...

In its historical emergence, psychoanalysis cannot be dissociated from the generalization of the deployment of sexuality and the secondary mechanisms of differentiation that resulted from it. The problem of incest is still significant in this regard. On one hand, as we have seen, its prohibition was posited as an absolutely universal principle which made it possible to explain both the system of alliance and the regime of sexuality; this taboo, in one form or another, was valid therefore for every society and every individual. But in practice psychoanalysis gave itself the task of alleviating the effects of repression (for those who were in a position to resort to psychoanalysis) that this prohibition was capable of causing; it allowed individuals to express their incestuous desire in discourse. But during the same period, there was a systematic campaign being organized against the kinds of incestuous practices that existed in rural areas or in certain urban quarters inaccessible to psychiatry: an intensive administrative and judicial grid was laid out then to put an end to these practices. An entire politics for the protection of children or the placing of "endangered" minors under guardianship had as its partial objective their withdrawal from families that were suspected--through lack of space, dubious proximity, a history of debauchery, antisocial "primitiveness," or degenerescence--of practicing incest.
--Who else but Foucault, The History of Sexuality, volume 1 (129)

That should have been the title of the book, I think: lack of space, dubious proximity, a history of debauchery, antisocial "primitiveness," or degenerescence, subtitle: INCEST, FRENCH FRENCH INCEST.
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