Hello & happy holidays!
& here’s what I have for you today:
What I read last week
What I hope to read this weekend
Questions to ask yourself about your art
What I read last week:
These Indicium Tales, Lance Phillips
I have also been reading Davey Davis’s newsletter archive—a writer whose work I’ve admired for a long time now.
Davis’s posts I read last week:
I’m going to read the entirety of the archive by the end of the weekend, probably, because I have no chill & must obsessively devour all the available writing of people who are smarter than me.
& what I’m hoping to read this weekend:
Questions to ask yourself about your art—
appropriated here, directly quoting Davey Davis’s essay “on what art does”:
Does my art marry my politics, furthering a vision for, or even contributing to, a world in which there is more and better for the people?
Or is it distinct from those politics (and if so, am I wasting time that could be spent on more and better, for the people)?
How to bring about the meeting of pleasure, craft, and the political?
How to find, create, or imbue meaning in the work that we do (so as to, perhaps, convince ourselves that it can be done in tandem with The Work—could even be considered The Work as such)?
I don’t see what’s wrong with a kink or fetish being weird. In fact, isn’t that sort of the point? I wonder who it serves to pretend that people won’t think you are weird, or gross, or worse, if it turns out you, I don’t know, like getting fucked with feet? I wonder who requires permission from a stranger on the internet to explore their desires and fantasies. And I wonder on whose authority the stranger on the internet can grant permission to explore them—as if their permission will eliminate all of the interpersonal and structural consequences of this exploration, of which there are many! It seems dishonest to pretend that validity is the end of the discussion, instead of the beginning.
It really is magical. As I follow the direction my anger takes me, it starts teaching me things: I’m realizing that what annoys me is that in its quest to validate everything that a kinky or kinky-questioning person might do or think, this account and ones like it tend to eliminate the need for critical thinking about those actions and thoughts—which include engagement with the social realities of non-normative sexuality and gender, as well as our individual responsibilities when exploring these sometimes challenging, disturbing, dangerous, or activating topics—while also flattening our understanding of just what constitutes taboo and what doesn’t. Looking at the graphic above, you might think that there is a stigma against using a safe word (there isn’t). You might think there is some kind of structural pressure on anyone to ~be kinky~ rather than not (there isn’t).
I am hesitant to use identity categories as my primary tools for decoding all of reality.
Without seeking to deny anyone the succor or relief they provide, when I encounter non-binary markers for drivers licenses and trans-affirming credit cards, do I feel less dysphoric? Less alienated? More safe?
I think pleasure is the way through.
Str8 thought, recoiling against the erotic drive, attempts to split desire into different kinds; it understands queerness as a kind of desire rather than as a coalitional politics founded on the fact of desire as a prohibited social condition.
All day I tried to distinguish / Need from desire.
As a 31-year-old transsexual, regretting how much I don’t fit into what I am supposed to be […] after years of regretting how much I don’t fit into what I am supposed to be […]. I was a bad girl and now I am a bad boy, but not the kind of bad boy that […] my girlfriend and even I, I suppose, want, at least sometimes.
I wanted to write about disorientation and acts of sex and cruelty, and try to articulate things that are impossible to articulate in language, like desire and the incoherence of violence and love.
To write or tell the whole truth about oneself is a physical impossibility.
In my industry, there’s some wiggle room for non-conformers, especially if you’re white, but when it comes right down it, the endless interviews, “family”-style and “team-building” corporate culture, and network-based hiring and retention practices, it won’t surprise anyone to learn, are about fitting into a specific socioeconomic profile, with accommodations made for “diversity” when legally mandated. It’s also about milking you of every last drop of time and energy by blurring the lines between “work” and “not work,” “home” and “office,” “fun” and “professional development,” “trust” and “codependence,” and “perk” and “obligation,” which is no different from a blue-collar job, but tends to be done more with the carrot, or the semblance of the carrot, than with the stick. Middle-class workers get carrots, poor workers get sticks. Either way, you’re a donkey.
I find the concept of “imposter syndrome” to be annoying, played out, and basically useless. IMO, our understanding of it needs to be tweaked: It’s not that you must defeat the little voice inside you that tells you you’re an imposter because your self-esteem isn’t good enough or whatever, because I think that little voice is correct: You are an imposter and you should not be there. Your white-collar workplace, academic program, or prestigious award was designed for a very specific and select chunk of the labor force, and if you’re second-guessing your presence there, well, have I got news for you: Either you’re less of an imposter than you think or you’ve pulled off a grift. Are you a grifter? Lean into it. Good job on the grift, buddy. Get yours.
The formalism of clinical psychology, [Smail] writes, leads too many people to view their well-being as a matter of medical diagnosis rather than as the result of externally imposed conditions—chief among them “the machinery of global capitalism,” which “has enormous effects on vast numbers of people in the world who are themselves in no position to see into its operation.”
Intimacy, as I said, is hard and scary work, especially when it’s the kind that doesn’t come prefabricated, with blueprints and road signs and slots dictating what goes where. Normalcy is at least simpler.
We are taught that the body is an ignorant animal intelligence that dwells only in the head. But the body is smart. It does not discern between external stimuli and stimuli from the imagination.
The fear of “cancellation” is often deployed as a smokescreen, a way to worm out of “accountability,” to use an overused term, but I think we can agree also that the nexus of internet, bad brains, American culture, and mass trauma has made us all aware of the threat of being misunderstood, willfully or otherwise.
drewtoothpaste @drewtoothpastefresh wave of bad reviews for yankee candles https://t.co/1mlandB78I
The Independent @IndependentSarah Palin says ‘over my dead body’ will she have a covid vaccine shot https://t.co/jHibCcBe77
That’s all I have for you today. Thanks for being here.