Thursday, November 8, 2012

Random Nonsense from a Tipsy Lady

The end of a crazy busy work period is nigh, (after the 21st), and maybe I will blog blog blog again.

In the meantime I am busy busy and when I finally finish for the day I am relaxing with a gin and tonic made with locally brewed (as in up the road) gin.  I am not a big drinker but holy moly is this gin smoooooooth.  (We both bought lemons for election night and then fell asleep way too early, so we have to use those lemons!)

In other news, I took some (lovely) students to a filming of a political chat show the other night and wow was I lucky because GERMAINE GREER was a guest.  Actually, being in a tv audience was kind of lame (but on my Things To Do in Life list; also, I clearly would have made a better guest than one of the guests!), but still I got to be thisclose to Germaine Greer and though I am generally highly, obnoxiously disdainful of fangirl/boy crap, I totally wanted to run up to her and say "Please come have a drink with me, Germaine!!".  But I didn't.  Because I am shy sometimes.  And lame.

I should go eat now.  But really I wanted another one of these gin and tonics!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Night.....

7pm London time.  Work finally put aside for the evening, gin and tonics mixed by my lovely partner, and now waiting for the election returns coverage to begin. (Note: I support Jill Stein, but still want to see Obama over Romney DUH).

I'll be copying and pasting any racist/hateful status updates I see posted on fb tonight by my family members or distant "friends" (I know, I should delete them, right?).

First up, from a woman who used to be a close friend but hasn't been for some time:

"My guess is that Obama will take an early lead today, until the republican's get off work."

Because Obama supporters are lazy black people who don't work, obvs. (RAGE)

Punctuation and capitalization errors her own. Or those of the person from whom she stole this racist, hateful status update.

This fb friend used to be a police officer (of course) but now she is a stay-at-home mom.  Which, you know, if she lived in a truly progressive nation, she would be remunerated for....or as my BFF put it in our im conversation about this,

"Stay at home Mom because daycare is too expensive, thanks to Republican party"

More to follow, I'm guessing.....

 UPDATE: I fell asleep after my second gin and tonic.  That's 5 of 6 lemons left this morning!  I was out at 2am London time.  I fell asleep sure that things looked good, and woke up to find that the Paul Ryan bullet was dodged.  And that many progressive things have happened in blue states!  YAY marriage equality and legal weed and our first lesbian senator and more, so much more!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hello, Hello!

Can other people see ads when they visit my blog?  I just visited poor old Junkland for the first time in ages and I've got ads running down the side.  I certainly did not put them there, so I'm wondering if they are targeted to me or if everyone can see them?

In other news, I know, I'm the lousiest blogger in all of the progressive feminist blogosphere.

I continue to be insanely busy (but I LOVE my work), and over the last hour that I have actually had to myself, I've created a mirror of Stuff Women Don't Like over at Tumblr 'cause I heard that's where all the cool kids are.  Instead of, you know, blogging for real.

So now I have, like, three blogs to regularly neglect!

Things I would write about it I had time include the Savile child sexual abuse scandal, the upcoming elections, and some other stuff scribbled on a list on the bulletin board above my desk.

Friday, September 7, 2012

New Blog

Won't you join me over at my new blog, Stuff Women Don't Like?

I'm not exactly abandoning this one (and much of my feminist-related 'Best of' material is simply being reproduced over there), but I haven't had a lot of time and/or motivation for some time now, and I thought a fresh project might improve things....

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

On the Difference Between Appreciation and Objectification

Consider these scenarios:

Scenario 1

I'm reading an article in the news and Eric Stoltz is mentioned.  "Oh Eric Stoltz!", I think.  "Man, I used to think he was so hot!  And he almost always made such interesting films!  God, remember how sizzling he and Gillian Anderson were in The House of Mirth?  I wonder if he's still gooood-looking?"  *Google images Eric Stoltz*.

"Yep, still gooood-looking!":

"Heck, he's hardly even changed!":
"Hmm, I never did dig long-haired men":
"Hey, isn't that Michael J. Fox?  What's he doing in here?":

"Ho hum, yeah, so anyway, Eric Stoltz! Still cute!  What is he up to these days anyway? Probably making good films, let's see..."  Googles Eric Stoltz wikipedia article.  "Oh, hmm, some kind of sci fi tv show that got cancelled.  Yawn.  Oh look, he's been a vegetarian for 25 years.  Impressive.  Wow, he dated like every quality actress of his era, how about that?" (Hot.)  "Remember when he did Mask?  He was good in Mask!  Wasn't that with Cher?  She was good in Mask!"  Googles Eric Stoltz Mask.  Finds interview with Eric Stoltz.  Spends five minutes skimming it.  "Wow, he actually comes across as intelligent.  And he lives in New Mexico!  Good-looking, smart, talented, private, long history of making great choices in his artistic work....sounds like my cup of tea!"  Hmm, tea.  "You know, I'm kind of thirsty and I need to finish that fantastic book."  Closes laptop, wanders off to the kitchen for some ice water, picks up copy of "In the Time of the Butterflies", starts reading.

Scenario 2

 A dude is reading a sports article on a news website.  It's about the Olympics.  He notices the women on a sports team are attractive.  He finds a name for one of the players.  Google images it.  


(Not even the same athlete)

(Not even an athlete)
 Click, click, click, click, click, click.

Click, click, click, click, click, click.

Click, click, click, click, click, click.

And that, my friends, is the difference between appreciation and objectification.

I bet you can guess which one harms women/turns me off.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Music & Me: A Breakup Story

So I want to write a little bit about music.  That is, my relationship with music.  It's a curious thing, but the truth is, my relationship with music has changed pretty dramatically since about the time that I shacked up with a cellist.  Maybe a little before.

I hardly ever listen to music anymore.  And when I do, I don't feel the things music used to make me feel.  Not even my old favorites draw out much feeling in me.

For many, many years- decades- of my life, music was the soundtrack of my longing.  All of my dreams and hopes, my hunger, my lust for life, for knowledge, for space, adventure, experience, and yes, for men too, all of it was bound up in music.  My defeats and loneliness and aches and heartbreaks, too.  All of it.  Everything.  Whatever my need, there was some song that could touch me, by melody or lyric or simply the timbre of a voice.

And then a few years ago many things I wanted or had worked toward suddenly came true.  My move to London, years and years in the making, came to be.  I unexpectedly met someone grand, as far as men go (though I didn't think I wanted that anymore), and I got my PhD, which for whatever it is not, is still an accomplishment.  And of course, I was traveling, which always makes me happy.

And suddenly, music quietly disappeared from my life.  Well, it didn't exactly disappear- after all, my partner practices at home.  And I still tune in to my old favorites from time to time.  But my need for music disappeared.  And all the longing and emotion that I felt when listening to music most certainly disappeared.

It's a curious thing.  When I think about it, part of the answer to the riddle of why music doesn't touch me much anymore is that I don't really long for much anymore.  The truth is, over the last couple of years, I've been as happy as I think I can be in this rotten, rotten world.  I've knocked out my 'big goals', I'm content.  It's not that I don't have dreams- I still want to write/publish a book, I want to see more places on this desecrated planet; but I've accepted that all the things I really want most in the world will never, ever be.  And so I don't long anymore, some dreams I don't dream anymore.  I've run up against the limitations of my hunger.

But the other part of the answer, I think, is age.  Maybe in some ways music truly is for the young.  When you are too naive to know better.  I'm just not capable of feeling things as deeply as I did when I had no experience of the world.  I can remember, but I can no longer ache.

I can put on 'Wrecking Ball' (Emmylou version) and I can smile wryly, or maybe a little wistfully, as I picture my overwrought, early 20s self, lying on the floor of my apartment, a bottle of beer by my hand, in the dark, on a heavy, humid summer night, positively crawling out of my skin with desire and despair.  But I can't feel the slightest bit of what she felt, that Girl I Used To Be.

I can put on Wilco and remember the late 20s girl speeding down the road, hot summer day, singing her guts out, "I have no idea how this happens, all of my maps have been overthrown, happenstance has changed my plans so many times my heart has been outgrown."  But her passion is a stranger to me.

I can put on Nirvana Unplugged and go way, way back to a girl so far gone that she is entirely a stranger to me.

It would kind of make me sad, if I could quite muster up enough to feel sad.

And so its gone, my love affair with music, with Joni and Jeff and Neil and Leonard and Gillian, and the memories fade as quickly as those of my lovers past, and I don't really think its coming back.

It would kind of make me sad, if I could quite muster up enough to feel sad.

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Perhaps Charming Story About What Innocuous Pop Song "Canned Heat" Means to My Life

**This post really must be read in full to be fully appreciated!

I often write blog posts in my head as I'm drifting off to sleep.  I pretty much never get up and start writing my frenzied thoughts.  Then the next day comes and I'm busy and my wonderfully insightful post is turned into a two or three word reminder on my "Things To Blog About" list:  "American Dream", "airline ads", "victims/survivors."  The list grows longer, and nothing seems to get crossed off.


Earlier this evening, an article on the Guardian about recently deceased Beastie Boy Adam Yauch caught my eye.  The article got me all sad and reflective and I thought about how Yauch was too young to die and how much I loved the Beastie Boys growing up and how they recanted on their sexism when they grew up and how much that meant to me and blah blah blah and then I started actually listening to some music and I started thinking much more generally about my changing relationship with music, and loss, and longing, and the poetry of the soul, and so on.  And "music" got added to my blogging list because, in fact, I have quite a lot to say about my curiously changing relationship with music.  This is not that post.

This post is about "Canned Heat" by Jamiroquai and its special meaning in my life.  First, let's listen to the song, shall we?  (It might make you go to youtube, but you've got to hear this particular version, so just go!...).

(I really think the cello bits take this from fun pop song to spectacular pop song, don't you?)

So, 13 years ago, this song was new and hot and I was very young and goofy and busy having a lot of fun with my best friend B. (My other best friend, M., was out West being young and goofy and having fun).  B. and I were attached at the hip and had a very rich fantasy life of which we were the stars.  We worked together at the local bookstore, we were making plans to rent a house and become roommates that fall, we spent virtually every night together, sleeping in a large bed in the library of her mom's large, beautiful home.  We took crazy day trips to the beach, we drove to Lake Michigan to her family's summer home for a weekend, we went for long drives around the outskirts of our shitty Southern town and had long talks while listening to a reliable soundtrack of favorites (Queen, B.B. King, the Romeo & Juliet soundtrack, Jamiroquai).  Men were on our radar, but in an "optional accessory" kind of way.  Our intense, and intensely fun, friendship was pretty all-consuming.

Anytime B.'s mom would go out of town, we'd convince her to buy us a bottle of rum, and then we'd replace the lighting in the pool table room with black lights, put on our idea of "sexy" pajamas, pour ourselves mixed drinks, put on "Canned Heat" (and other favorites) and dance on the pool table.  No men necessary.  I'm sure it all sounds very silly and vaguely erotic, but we were very young and just discovering ourselves and our imaginations and our wants and needs and what we were about in this world and we had a great time just staying home, getting drunk, dancing entirely without self-consciousness, feeling lithe and alive and full of hope and dreams and so on (oh to be so unselfconscious again; to be so comfortable in my body, to feel so beautiful...but that was before I had more substantial contact with men than a few dates here and there).  It's hard to express what it was like.  I guess you had to be there.

B. and I did move in together that fall, and then a cute neighbor boy came on the scene, and things fell apart.  I have so much sadness and regret and aching in my heart for our lost friendship.  But this post isn't about that either.

Suffice to say, this song carries a powerful memory of a lost part of myself, and a very special lost friendship, and it has had a special place in my heart for years.

So fast forward thirteen years.  I live in London, I've been shacked up with a musician for a while now, and I'm thinking about Adam Yauch and I decide to listen to some music.  My fellow has been away for the last two weeks in the States (I had to work, and I'm not ready to fly transatlantic yet anyway).  Funnily enough, he's been in Georgia and Florida, for his family in fact live in the very same part of the world from which a few years ago I sprung myself.  Anyway, I throw the ipod on shuffle, and "Canned Heat" pops up (not that unlikely, since there are only a couple of hundred songs on my ipod at the moment).  I break into a big grin as I listen to those lovely opening cello bits, because the cellist playing those bits, it turns out, is none other than the man I live with, who is currently flying over the ocean on his way back home to me.

So these days, "Canned Heat" has extra special meaning for me.  It's an ode to my lost self and my lost friend B., as well as a spectacular display of my partner's mad skill and talent and sort of an ode to the ongoing journey of my life.

I can't listen to this song without picturing myself and B. laughing and dancing breathless on a pool table in Rome, Georgia, and somehow it makes the memory even more golden to know that we were joyously dancing to joyous sounds produced by the hands of a man in London, in a very dark place at that time in his life, who would many years later become a tremendously important part of my life.

Like his hands somehow reach into my past and somehow bring a piece of B. into my future.  And his hands that played then with sorrow brought joy to a girl far away who would one day grow into a woman who would bring him joy.  It has a nice symmetry, no?

Which is all a very long way of saying that "Canned Heat" has become inextricably entwined with loss, and growth, and healing, and joy, in my life, and I love it for that.