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the jouissance of exploded limits

Leo Bersani is rocking my world.

excerpt on sexCollapse )

Meta: despite my scholastically-imposed hiatus from livejournal, you can tell where I locate the real academy in my life.

Sep. 17th, 2010

1. I have commenced my Master's thesis on slash fanfiction. I'm going to make a bigger, public post about that later to throw out some ideas, hopefully get some feedback, maybe some methodological advice.

I am simultaneously working on that, the Chaucer paper I never got written and a paper about comic book superheroes & lyric poetry. My mind is a thicket of overlapping excitements. I vacillate between panic and feeling like a teenage ninja driving around in a giant robotic dinosaur.

I've agreed with myself that as soon as I get the superhero poetry paper done, I get to:

(a) read the Paige/Jubilee Generation X story that Maggie wrote, like, 100 days ago, oh my god, please
(b) watch Inception, which I still haven't seen, everyone loves it
(c) drive to the beach before winter sets in

If I got to do all those things some Saturday, I don't even fucking know-- what would happen--

2. I heart this Dinosaur Comics guest comic by Lore Sjöberg, although it must be hard to write a funny comic when the regular writer has taken a leave of absence for a death in the family.

3. And I triple-heart this rebuttal to a tumblr list of why it's a great idea to date writers.

1. Writers will romance you with words. We probably won't. We write for ourselves or for money and by the time we're done we're sick of it. If we have to write you something there's a good chance it'll take us two days and we'll be really snippy and grumpy about the process.
2. Writers will write about you. You don't want this. Trust me.
6. Writers will offer you an interesting perspective on things. Yes. Constantly. While you're trying to watch TV or take a shower. You will have to listen to observations all day long, in addition to being asked to read the observations we wrote about when you were at work and unavailable for bothering. It will be almost as annoying as dating a stand-up comedian, except if you don't find these observations scintillating we will think you're dumb, instead of uptight.
9. Writers can think through their feelings. So don't start an argument unless you're ready for a very, very lengthy explication of our position, our feelings about your position, and what scenes from our recent fiction the whole thing is reminding us of.
And my favorite:

12. Writers wear their hearts on their sleeves. Serious advice: if you meet a writer who's actually demonstrative, be careful.

All is vanity.

1. Pastor Terry Jones, author of Islam is of the Devil, and his Dove World Outreach Center are hosting "International Burn A Quran Day" this September 11th-- a move so noxious that even the National Association of Evangelicals is raising its voice in protest. You can see Jones' promotion of the event on Youtube here. I plan to spend some time between now and then selecting some of my favorite ayat for the occasion.

2. I just put a line in my Herman Melville paper stolen from an old Jesus/Little Drummer Boy fic. It used to be about Jesus Christ; now it is about Melville. Is that weird? Or awesome?

3. On a personal note, I am taking a fucking dive here in the Heartland. Stress from work and school has made a hard knot in my chest. I've been working for weeks on this Melville paper, out of time and money, simultaneously trying to fulfill my responsibilities as a friend and a sister and daughter; my rent is late; and I know this paper is an unforgivable indulgence, but I need it. Such that I have sussed out an endless feedback loop of guilt --> low self-worth --> defensive vanity --> stress --> guilt. Knowing I need to let go but unable or unwilling to change my behavior. Thinking, please let me just do this. I've already made too many ethical compromises, failed at too many things, etc. I'm already not good, but this can be good.

Aug. 3rd, 2010

All you genius educated ballers-- can anyone translate this into English for me?

Aloysii Ivglaris ...: Christvs Iesvs, hoc est Elogiorvm pars prima, divina continens

(if I owe you any kind of correspondence, jesus, I apologize; I have been engaged these last two weeks in slowly killing myself with Herman Melville, dried peaches and amphetamines, soon to deliver scholarly hustle unto the world.)

Jul. 24th, 2010

So after nearly 30 yrs of doing things my way and just bitching all of the time, I have started taking amphetamines-- for the immediate purpose of writing term papers but possibly out of the weeds and into the rest of my life as desired. After several months of abusing my body with alcohol and Red Bull, I feel pretty okay about it; only I do feel residual superstitions about, you know, mucking around up there in the brain area with something potent enough to require a prescription.

I want to write about it both to invite anyone's input and to self-monitor for any of the psychological side effects listed on Wikipedia: euphoria, anxiety, increased libido, alertness, concentration, energy, self-esteem, self-confidence, sociability, irritability, aggression, psychosomatic disorders, psychomotor agitation, hubris, excessive feelings of power and superiority, repetitive and obsessive behaviors, paranoia-- although, let's face it, that's kind of me already.

Well, accept for the ability to focus. Clearly.

brain medicine journalCollapse )

Like pears closely packed, the crowded crew mutually decay through close contact, and every plague-spot is contagious. Still more, from this same close confinement-- so far as it affects the common sailors-- arise other evils, so direful that they will hardly bear even so much as an allusion. What too many seamen are ashore is very well known; but what some of them become when completely cut off from shore indulgences can hardly be imagined by landsmen. The sins for which the cities of the plain were overthrown still linger in some of these wooden-walled Gomorrahs of the deep.

-- Herman Melville, White-Jacket, 1850


Through all [Melville's] wild and reckless adventures, of which a small part only got into his fascinating books, he had been unable to rid himself of a Puritan conscience; he afterwards tried to loosen its grip by studying German metaphysics, but in vain. He was restless and disposed to dark hours, and there is reason to suspect that there was in him a vein of insanity.


He conceived the highest admiration for my father [Nathanial Hawthorne]'s genius, and a deep affection for him personally; but he told me, during our talk, that he was convinced that there was some secret in my father's life which had never been revealed, and which accounted for the gloomy passages in his books. It was characteristic in him to imagine so; there were many secrets untold in his own career.

-- Julian Hawthorne, Hawthorne and his circle, 1903

Jul. 19th, 2010


2. My little sister sent me this email yesterday:

who is this the manchild of.

"Henry Clerval was the son of a merchant of Geneva. He was a boy of singular talent and fancy. He loved enterprise, hardship, and even danger for its own sake. He was deeply read in books of chivalry and romance. He composed heroic songs and began to write many a tale of enchantment and knightly adventure. He tried to make us act plays and to enter into masquerades, in which the characters were drawn from the heroes of Roncesvalles, of the Round Table of King Arthur, and the chivalrous train who shed their blood to redeem the holy sepulchre from the hands of the infidels."

Ignore the part about him being the son of a merchant of Geneva. Who are the parents of Henry Clerval?

hint: mpreg
I can only assume this is a composite Frankenstein-Merlin joke that I don't understand.

3. to-do listCollapse )

4. Aries horoscope for today: Although it's summer vacation for many, you must stay focused and fulfill your obligations. You might need to exercise caution because you could get a crazy idea today that is meant to save you time and increase your productivity. However, it is wiser to stick with the tried and true method now, even if it ends up taking you longer to finish.


Jul. 16th, 2010

Gacked from jbmcdragon--

Repeal Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Paves Way For Gay Sex Right On Battlefield, Opponents Fantasize

As Congress prepares to allow gay individuals to serve openly in the military, those against the proposed change voiced their concerns Monday, warning the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" could soon lead to strong, strapping American soldiers engaging in mind-blowing homosexual intercourse right on the battlefield.

"We're sending our soldiers out there with a mission, and that mission is to protect this country," said Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), one of many conservative politicians who staunchly oppose the change. "If this is repealed, what's to stop all-night sex romps from breaking out while U.S. servicemen are hiding in a bunker, or crawling around an irrigation ditch bathed only by the light of the moon, or, say, the dozens of other situations I've already thought through in elaborate detail?"

"We can't allow this to happen," Gohmert added as beads of sweat collected on his brow. "It's wrong. Sweaty male sex—no matter how erotic and uninhibited—is so wrong and so, so naughty."

Despite its support from the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the repeal has been condemned by many military officers who worry it could disrupt troop cohesion and endanger the lives of the taut young soldiers.... Others have argued that allowing gay soldiers to push their lifestyle on others, testing the limits of pleasure a man can take before he erupts in uncontrollable ecstasy, would seriously damage morale.


"The military should not be used to advance some radical, steamy, mouthwatering social agenda," said Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ).


to-do listCollapse )

Jul. 15th, 2010

1. So we all did the I Write Like meme, and it was funny and already inaccurate, and I'm not going to shit on it, so just be patient.

I want to take a look at a frequently misunderstood argument about color-blindness and gender-blindness. It was pointed out by teaberryblue that of all 40 possible returns for the writer meme, only three were women and all were white. She wrote to the author of the software to point that out and got this reply:

I’ve added more writers into the database recently. But I *absolutely* will not add people into the database due to their race or gender. I will not search for lists of white, black, Asian, Hispanic, or any other types of people that you _took care to differentiate_. All people are equal to me, and equality means not looking at skin color or different types of chromosomes.

I think the question is closed.

Dmitry Chestnykh
I Write Like

In all fairness, I don't know teaberryblue, and she doesn't include the text of her own message to him, so she might've been a total douche-- which might've elicited an email from Chestnykh that's all bluster, and we don't know what changes he might actually make to his software-- also, Russian, so he might be a little crazy-- but I just want to address his argument.

He italicized took care to differentiate.

He's situating himself on the moral high ground because teaberryblue is segregating on the basis of gender and race. What he's saying is that teaberryblue is promoting the Otherness of women and poc while he's ready to get past all that.

And that's great... but there are still no authors of color in his index.

While he individually may treat everyone equally, he perpetuates a canon that excludes women and people of color by default. Which is the problem with color-blindness. It is a problem.

Does anyone remember a few years ago when Larry Summers (former president of Harvard University and current economic advisor to Obama) suggested that women are under-represented in the sciences because they really just biologically can't do math very well? The problem with that suggestion is that it's the same dogma that leads to the special grooming of girls as English teachers and support staff and of boys as mathematicians, scientists and engineers. Then we look at the world and say, "Hunh, why so few female scientists? we've been enlightened for, like, several decades already. Maybe they really can't do math."

Or maybe we can talk about how many black and Latino kids in low-income districts are embarrassed to be seen trying or doing well academically because they don't want anyone to think they're being "white."

The fact is that under-representation re-enforces the prejudices that lead to under-representation in the first place.

People who claim to be color-blind or gender-blind are very likely not actually blind to color and gender so much as they are to their own default prejudices, as with Chestnykh's index of writers.

Id est: It's great that it's not a problem for you, but if your enlightened magnanimity discourages you from addressing systemic inequality, then it's bullshit.

In summary, this comment thread on teaberryblue's post.

2. Oh man, katieforsythe of Sherlock Holmes fandom fame just posted this anecdote that makes my heart sing:

recently I was on a plane, and a very sweet girl rec'ed me to myself. I didn't know whether to blush my face off, or say thank you and my name is actually Katie Forsythe by the way, or let my head roll under the seats, or simply panic and not say who I was, and so I did the last item. That was pretty cowardly of me.

That is totally my fannish romcom wet dream.

Wouldn't it be great if they had hijinks and then fell in loooove? I wish someday that would happen to me. I guess I would have to write something first, and then travel by plane.

Jul. 13th, 2010

An implacable nervousness has gripped our hero! I can feel failure happening right now.

But here's the good news: yesterday, I saw a porcupine for the first time. Then later, I walked out my front door, and there was a buck deer standing in the flowers. Lastly, I was walking to my car at night in a torrential downpour, arm wrapped around the shoulders of my colleague and the owner of the one umbrella between us, and we stepped over a tiny little garter snake ribboning over the flooded sidewalk.

to-do listCollapse )

3PM ETA: I am bored with doing the things on my to-do list. I'm starting to have mild hallucinations.


A. was blissfully happy, alone in the enormous hotel room, reading in the twilight, listening to the music and the sound of the sea, with a glass of something to drink on the bedside table-- I could feel her bliss

~ Peter Handke, June 19

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