“Liam and me, we gonna fuck you up.”
“Yeah, well, that’s like, uhh, your opinion, man.”
I’m used to skipping ahead, but the title sequence for True Detective is too pretty to miss.
A beautiful aerial view of our commute.
Photos by Michael Shainblum, Toby Harriman and Marc Donahue:
Good advice no matter your vocation. And a corollary, maybe: If you don’t think you can do this, maybe you want to be doing something else.
No artificial reverb added.
Whether your sympathies lie with Occupy Wall St or the Tea Party, we may agree that this — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QPKKQnijnsM — is directly related to this — http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-van-zandt/democracy-in-america_b_1139463.html — a system rigged in favor of the people who pay for it. And our representatives come comically/tragically cheap.
Not evil or surprising. Just human nature and the pendulum swinging clearly too far to be healthy. So unless we want to wait for things to get uglier, this strikes me as an idea whose time has come: http://www.wolf-pac.com/
Until we reduce the ability for money to distort our politics, our democracy is broken.
And we (the people, directly) need to fix it, ’cause it’s clear our representatives won’t. (Nor will the Supreme Court, clearly.) That’s change we shouldn’t believe in or wait for.
If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Domingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity. And because you grow up with this, it’s this huge surprise when you go to college and realize that, “Oh, women aren’t people who does my shit and fucks me.”
And I think that this a huge challenge for boys, because they want to pretend they can write girls. Every time I’m teaching boys to write, I read their women to them, and I’m like, “Yo, you think this is good writing?” These motherfuckers attack each other over cliche lines but they won’t attack each other over these toxic representations of women that they have inherited… their sexist shorthand, they think that is observation. They think that their sexist distortions are insight. And if you’re in a writing program and you say to a guy that their characters are sexist, this guy, it’s like you said they fucking love Hitler. They will fight tooth and nail because they want to preserve this really vicious sexism in the art because that is what they have been taught.
And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherfuckers.” So women come with it built in because of the society.
It’s the same way when people write about race. If you didn’t grow up being a subaltern person in the United States, you might need help writing about race. Motherfuckers are like “I got a black boy friend,” and their shit sounds like Klan Fiction 101.
The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not passed down in political practice, they’re passed down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons. And if you want to be a good artist, it means writing, really, about the world. And when you write cliches, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, that is a fucking cliche. And motherfuckers will kill you for their cliches about x, but they want their cliches about their race, class, queerness. They want it in there because they feel lost without it. So for me, this has always been the great challenge.
As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track. They tell you, “You know what? You’re a bit of a fucking homophobe.” You can’t write about the world with these simplistic distortions. They are cliches. People know art, always, because they are uncomfortable. Art discomforts. The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real. And sexism is a way to avoid the real, avoiding the reality of women. Homophobia is to avoid the real, the reality of queerness. All these things are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that.
Bjork on the dangers of swallowing too much television… or of listening to Icelandic poets.