“I admire narcissism in Momus and others who “own” it and use it as a way to explore ideas/themselves and also as a form of humor. I don’t think of myself as narcissistic, but I’m definitely incredibly self absorbed. I guess I wonder if seeing the world through the lens of yourself is necessarily less valid than other ways of thinking/seeing though. I admire self-awareness more than probably any other quality, and I think in terms of what qualities are “good” in a person, it’s a mostly subjective opinion, so I can’t see a reason to think that self-absorption is inherently a bad thing.”—The Rumpus Interview with Marie Calloway
“Have you noticed small commodities are increasingly difficult to remove from their packaging? Something similar has happened with the lives of the gainfully employed. Those who have legal employment and are not poor are living in a very reduced space that allows them fewer and fewer choices—except the continual binary choice between obedience and disobedience. Their working hours, their place of residence, their past skills and experience, their health, the future of their children, everything outside their function as employees has to take a small second place beside the unforseeable and vast demands of liquid profit.”—Guernica / Fellow Prisoners
“For a 21st century character, Jess is completely dependent on others perhaps because she doesn’t have a history of her own from which she can draw. This makes Jess Day today’s ironically ideal substitute for That Girl’s Ann Marie. The adorable and dorky girl—ambitions included—existed 45 years ago. But just like Mortie, Melusine, and the other logo girls, her depth has eroded. Commoditized quirkiness through FOX’s compound-word choice of qualities now suffices for real character. She’s a purely visual representation of a role that might have once been a little bit innovative. That Girl laid the foundation that has enabled New Girl to function as an acceptable substitute for substance. But weird for weird’s sake isn’t compelling. It isn’t feminine. And it isn’t feminism. It’s embarrassing.”—Who’s That Girl
“All you sucka MCs ain’t got nothin’ on me! From my grades, to my lines you can’t touch Kevin G! I’m a mathlete, so nerd is inferred, but forget what you heard I’m like James Bond the third, sh-sh-sh-shaken not stirred.”—Mean Girls
“We’re all going to be rich,” he says. “We’re all going to live forever. All the forces in the state are lined up to preserve the status quo. To preserve the delusion. And here—this place—is where the reality hits.”—California and Bust | Business | Vanity Fair
“The girls’ brains are so unusually formed that doctors could not predict what their development would be like: each girl has an unusually short corpus callosum, the neural band that allows the brain’s two cerebral hemispheres to communicate, and in each girl, the two cerebral hemispheres also differ in size, with Tatiana’s left sphere and Krista’s right significantly smaller than is typical. “The asymmetry raises intriguing questions about whether one can compensate for the other because of the brain bridge.”—Could Conjoined Twins Share a Mind?
“What happens when a society loses its ability to self-regulate, and insists on sacrificing its long-term interest for short-term rewards? How does the story end? “We could regulate ourselves if we chose to think about it,” Whybrow says. “But it does not appear that is what we are going to do.”—Michael Lewis, “California and Bust”
Still, we are, in the main, ordinary people living in plush times. We are smart enough to get by, responsible enough to raise a couple of kids, thrifty to sock away for a vacation, and industrious enough to keep the lights on. We like our cars. We love a good cheeseburger. We’d die without air-conditioning. In the great mass of humanity that’s ever lived, we are distinguished only by our creature comforts, but on the whole, mediocre.
That mediocrity is oft-exemplified by the claim that though we are unremarkable in this easy world, something about enslavement, degradation and poverty would make us exemplary. We can barely throw a left hook—but surely we would have beaten Mike Tyson.
“Because if smart women who know how smart they are intimidate men (and they do), and beautiful women who know how beautiful they are intimidate men (and they do), there is, logically, nothing more intimidating than a woman who is fully aware that she is both smart and beautiful. I mean, maybe a room full of tigers with machine guns! That could be scarier! Or, a smart and beautiful lady who makes jokes.”—Tiger Beatdown › 13 Ways of Looking at Liz Lemon
“Or, perhaps even better, how about Santana is allowed to be her own damn hero? Find herself. Save herself. Do we really need some dude – and a straight, white dude at that – to be the savior for a strong, queer Latina woman? Really? She can’t look into herself and find something inside her on her own that tells her she is strong enough? That moment where we stop and admit to ourselves that we deserve to be happy, no matter what other people think.”—Dorothy Surrenders on Santana
“You’ve either experienced slush or you haven’t, and the difference is not trivial. People who have never had the job of reading through the heaps of unsolicited manuscripts sent to anyone even remotely connected with publishing typically have no inkling of two awful facts: 1) just how much slush is out there, and 2) how really, really, really, really terrible the vast majority of it is.”—When anyone can be a published author (2010)
“Even after conducting these interviews, I’d be lying if I claimed to completely understand how the Triangle is supposed to work. I know the architect of the offense was Tex Winter and that former Bulls assistant Johnny Bach was integral to its adoption in Chicago. I know the base alignment of the Triangle is a human triangle on one side of the floor — a center on the block, a forward at the wing, and a guard in the corner. An explanation of everything else requires a chalkboard and a year of experience.”—Chuck Klosterman, “Whatever Happened to the Triangle Offense?”
“Women who identify and resist sexism are challenged and silenced in a number of ways. One of the most insidious is the casual dismissal of ‘it’s all in your head.’ ‘I don’t really see what the big deal is.’ ‘I think you’re reading something that isn’t really there.’ ‘You’re just making it up.’ It’s a sneaky, clever, nasty way of reminding women that their words carry less weight, are less valuable, are less useful, and that when they are allowed to speak, the listener can casually revoke any and all right to take those words seriously.”—s.e. smith, “it’s all in your head”
“Brooklyn’s story, then, doesn’t lend itself to a simple happy ending. Instead, the borough is a microcosm of the nation’s “hourglass economy.” At the top, the college-educated are doing interesting, motivating work during the day and bicycling home to enjoy gourmet beer and grass-fed beef after hours. At the bottom, matters are very different.”—How Brooklyn Got Its Groove Back
“For most of the last century, America’s cultural landscape—its fashion, art, music, design, entertainment—changed dramatically every 20 years or so. But these days, even as technological and scientific leaps have continued to revolutionize life, popular style has been stuck on repeat, consuming the past instead of creating the new.”—You Say You Want a Devolution?
“Maybe, as Davis and her “new” findings suggest, once you get the canoe out in the water, everybody starts happily paddling. The notion that female sexuality was unleashed forty years ago, after lying dormant lo these uncountable millennia, is silly; more recent is the sexual shutdown that apparently takes place in many marriages soon after they have been legalized”—The Wifely Duty
“All the business about peace and love, social conscience, the brotherhood of man, the stopping of this or that war, all the terrain of cultural crises that Allen traverses, is shown to be, in the essential mind of the male, subsidiary to the one true crisis, the sex crisis. What is a political rally to Allen? It’s a place much like a museum or a gallery or a book party, where available women leave their sanctuaries and expose themselves as though on the savannah.”—Alone at the Movies (2008)
Now, let me make this very clear, because there seems to be a little confusion:This is not a blog about race, and it is not a blog about gender. It is a blog about film.
But because I am a woman, and because I am a woman of color, it will of course be about those things in the same way that a white male writing about a film, whether he knows it or not, cannot divorce his experience as a white male from any essay. Since “white male” is the world’s (and Hollywood’s) default setting, he believes that he moves through life race-less and gender-less, and so quite naturally, many of his reviews will not include mentions of gender or race. So deeply rooted is the white-male default viewpoint, even I find it hard to escape this thinking.
Pity porn allows people to escape responsibility for institutional, structural, social problems that are not going to go away. It does not hold people accountable for what they are reading. Not on the fault of the author; many authors in fact structure ample institutional commentary into their work, ask readers to think critically about these issues, but that’s not what readers take away.
What people leave with is the ‘sad’ personal story, and then they spend a few days clucking about it and telling their friends—gosh, I had no idea it was so hard for women to breastfeed in public without harassment, that really is sad. And then they forget about it, and move on to the next thing, until they encounter another sad story and the cycle begins again.
It is a performance for public consumption, but more than that, it is used to dissolve all responsibility, to allow people to escape accountability in their own lives.
“Do we really need school? I don’t mean education, just forced schooling: six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for twelve years. Is this deadly routine really necessary? And if so, for what? Don’t hide behind reading, writing, and arithmetic as a rationale, because 2 million happy homeschoolers have surely put that banal justification to rest. Even if they hadn’t, a considerable number of well-known Americans never went through the twelve-year wringer our kids currently go through, and they turned out all right.”—Against School, 2003 (via Raymeaux)
“We have a name for the kind of person who collects a detailed, permanent dossier on everyone they interact with, with the intent of using it to manipulate others for personal advantage - we call that person a sociopath. And both Google and Facebook have gone deep into stalker territory with their attempts to track our every action. Even if you have faith in their good intentions, you feel misgivings about stepping into the elaborate shrine they’ve built to document your entire online life.”—The Social Graph is Neither