Joanna Newsom - “En Gallop”
“I have to - and that’s an unconditional injunction - I have to welcome the Other whoever he or she is unconditionally, without asking for a document, a name, a context, or a passport. That is the very first opening of my relation to the Other: to open my space, my home - my house, my language, my culture, my nation, my state, and myself. I don’t have to open it, because it is open, it is open before I make a decision about it: then I have to keep it open or try to keep it open unconditionally. But of course this unconditionality is a frightening thing, it’s scary. If we decide everyone will be able to enter my space, my house, my home, my city, my state, my language, and if we think what I think, namely that this is entering my space unconditionally may well be able to displace everything in my space, to upset, to undermine, to even destroy, then the worst may happen and I am open to this, the best and the worst”
— Jacques Derrida, Politics and Friendship
The blank page is not blank. No text has one single author. Whether we are conscious of it or not, we always write on top of a palimpsest. This is not a question of linear “influence,” but of writing as dialog with a whole net of previous and concurrent texts, tradition, with the culture and language we breathe and move in, which conditions us even while we help to construct it.
Many of us have foregrounded this awareness as technique: using, collaging, transforming, “translating” parts of other works. I don’t even have thoughts, I have methods that make language think, take over and me by the hand. Into sense or offense, syntax stretched across rules, relations of force, fluid the dip of the plumb line, the pull of eyes…
When Species Meet, Donna Haraway
this book says difficult, important things, beautifully and carefully. and, fittingly, with a great degree of difficulty. and with no innocence.
“The poet is not only a maker in the sense of the maker of the poem, but he makes up his mind, he makes up a world within a world, a setting of elements of play, that carries over into a maturity the make-believe of childhood, where, too, certain misunderstandings and mistakes led not to disaster but to fruitful pastures. It is a lesson learned again in Freud’s insights that we have not to avoid our mis-understandings but to understand them… What emerges is a mythic possibility; it is also creative, a poetic structure in our history then.”
The issue with developing “personalities” in America is that anything you “strive to be” costs money. That is the whole point — it is all marketing.
Needless to say, the fashion industry thrives off of constructing -choices- for the “outcast” and -perfect solutions- for the individual who “desperately needs to be a part of the crowd” and dissects social culture into categories of skirts, jeans, and shorts. It is not just the fact that your outfit is a validation of your personality and how chic your ‘ootd’ is is a mirror-image of your character, but the fact that the brand names and tags on those jeans suffocate the individual of any chance for real expression, and instead, stamp his/her forehead with just how much he/she has paid. Which is, of course, where the real validation of character takes place.
Even if you want to abandon the fashion industry and place the adjective ‘studious’ or ‘intelligent’ next to your name, work ethic is hardly vital. All you really have to do is get the image. “Books and coffee.” Go purchase books and a Starbucks coffee, post it on Instagram, and you are instantaneously intelligent, nerdy, and classy. If you don’t have an Instagram, that’s fine, just purchase a bookshelf, fill it with books you’ve never opened, and have people gaze with awe whenever they come over.
And let’s say you want to lead what we call a normal, healthy life — break the shackles of fast food and finally take care of yourself. What comes with that? The cost for your new gym membership, your new Nikes in pink, your new Victoria’s Secret yoga pants, your new obsession with organic products, and the cost for all of your new energy drinks and vitamins.
If you want the title of ‘successful,’ buy a suit, some nice shoes, a briefcase, and try to squeeze in a $60,000 tuition (per year) into that. If you want to become a politician, well that’s the easiest of them all… just be born rich or sell yourself to get rich.
No matter what we do, we fall into the trap. Because this mere flexibility in character development through image is just role-play. We take the images we have been fed — the lawyer in the Hugo Boss suit, the hardcore girl in Hot Topic attire, the athlete with the Adidas, the woman of class with Louboutins, and so on. It’s not only a byproduct of consumerism, but goes further back into the reality of colonialism. We are so privileged in this country that we have become bored — we conjure up new phases, new obsessions, new addictions, and new personalities to divert ourselves from the blank, cold hard truth. Our greatest concerns are work and/or school every day and the redundancy of routine calls for “spicing up your life” with the continuing purchase of items that are part of images. We drown ourselves in items that fortify the images we have been fed since we were young, with money we don’t have and time we shouldn’t have. It is not only consumer culture, it is propaganda. Image after image, we fall in love with the pseudo-opportunities that credit provides.
"Being yourself" is only a part of marketing. There is nothing "unique" anymore. How does one even cleanse himself when the mere idea of ‘cleansing’ has been infested with marketing strategy? There is an image for cleansing — only $20 at your local GNC.
Thrasher highlights that many of the biggest donors to the Human Rights Campaign, the multi-million dollar nonprofit that receives the bulk of donations for LGBT issues, are drone manufacturers. These donors profit off of the United States’ use of drones to kill civilians,including children, with little oversight or accountability. Drone manufacturers are far from the only ethically dark gray to black donors to LGBT advocacy organizations: a brief perusal of any major LGBT organization’s list of donors reveals that corporate black hats like Bank of America, BP, Coke, and Nike all provide major cash to LGBT nonprofits.
— Andrea Smith (via counterstorytelling)
Perfect partner(s) in my mind - someone(s) who would let us like and love each other without marriage and maybe without sex, who would be interested in staying in bed and reading together a lot, who like the same books as me but not entirely, who like to cuddle, who wouldn’t want me to do drugs (I don’t care if they do them), and who like cats. But mostly the cuddling part.
A gal can dream, right!
Does anyone else ever feel like your anxiety and anxious presence in the world radiates off of everyone’s calmness and bounces off them and annoys them and confuses them and makes them think you’re really unstable when contrasted to their stability? Because that’s how I feel even though I have no idea how anxious people are at any given moment. Or how anxious I actually seem, even though I feel like it’s probably pretty anxious. Life.
“We need the power of modern critical theories of how meanings and bodies get made, not in order to deny meaning and bodies, but in order to live in meanings and bodies that have a chance for a future.”
— Donna Haraway, Simians, Cyborgs, and Women: The Reinvention of Nature