“Then you told me to look at the moon, so I looked through the windshield at the moon. Then you told me to be impressed by the colour of the sky, so I applied myself to a study of the royal blue Paris sky.”—Leonard Cohen (from Four Letter Word: Invented Correspondence from the Edge of Modern Romance)
“You know those software statements? ‘By opening this package you agree to abide etc…’ I think you effectively sign a contract like that when you have your first kiss, and it’s an agreement renewed and extended with every subsequent kiss: I agree that by participating in this kiss I am willing to have my heart smashed to pieces in return for this one moment of bliss.”—Geoff Dyer (from Four Letter Word: Invented Correspondence from the Edge of Modern Romance)
There is no history of racism in this country that chalked ‘up only to race.’ You can’t really talk about stereotypes of, say, black laziness unless you understand stereotypes of the poor stretching back to 17th century Great Britain. You can’t really talk about the Southern slave society without grappling with the relationship between the demand for arable land and the demand for labor. You can’t understand the racial pogroms at the turn of the century without understanding the increasing mobility of American women.
And this works the other way too. If you’re trying to understand the nature of American patriotism without thinking about anti-black racism, you will miss a lot. If you’re trying to understand the New Deal, without thinking about Southern segregationist senators you will miss a lot. If you’re trying to understand the very nature of American democracy itself, and not grappling with black you, you will miss almost all of it.
When I was eleven, my brother and sister and I went to visit our father. We traveled to the place he lived a thousand miles away from us and spent a week with him and his wife and one-year-old baby. We hadn’t seen him in five years. One afternoon my father made popcorn and told me I could have as much butter as I wanted on it. “More,” I kept saying as he poured the melted butter over the popcorn in my very own gigantic bowl. “More,” I persisted until the entire pile of it deflated like a popped balloon under the weight of all that liquid. I don’t know what posessed me. I couldn’t bring myself to stop saying more until it was ruined. In the end, there was nothing to do but throw the entire sodden mess in the trash.
I’ve thought about that for years. It’s one of those memories that haunts me. It makes me sadder than a lot of the actually sad memories of my father do. I think it’s because when we ruined that popcorn we were both trying so hard. He was, for once, trying to give me everything I wanted and I was trying to get everything I needed and it was way too late for either one.
There would never be enough butter for me in my father’s house. I had to find it elsewhere in the world. Just like you.
Right around the time I first told him I loved him, I started having real orgasms with Steve. It was like my climactic circuitry had been plugged in and electrified: The peak experience could be mine, though still not easily. That familiar voice would nag: “You’re taking too long! He’s getting bored!” But instead of falling back on my crescendo of rapture, I took myself out of my head by actually saying what was in it…. Contrary to my fears, Steve wasn’t repulsed by my taking the initiative…. As my legit-orgasm count rose, I gained confidence in my abilities, and with the anxiety subsiding, having orgasms became less arduous…. That I now climax reliably, sometimes even effortlessly, with Steve seems nothing short of a miracle. “Good sex,” my father once said, “is like two star systems colliding in outer space.” Yes, yes, yes! I finally know what he was talking about.
So, after dragging my (pretty inelastic) mind through the murky depths of AnnaMarie Jagose’s “Counterfeit pleasures: fake orgasm and queer agency" earlier this semester, I really have to say: Tracy Clark-Flory, you are a damn fool. Exactly what does you mean when you say that you started having real orgasms with your boyfriend when you told him you loved him? Why does your celebratory tale of arriving at real orgasm end with sex advice from your father? What are you suggesting about sex, hook-ups, porn, love, relationships, heterosexual intercourse, feminism, etc.?
“I’ve never talked to a mortgage broker who thought, ‘When I help someone get into a loan by falsifying their income, I deeply consider whether or not I would destabilize the world economy,’" says Pierce. "You are helping someone who is real.”—
“For a complex set of reasons, we almost intuitively label some behavior as sexual…. Yet, if pressed, most people would not be able to either identify or defend a set of criteria they apply in such nominalist moments. To uncover a satisfactory and stable definition of sex is to borrow an expression from Abraham Lincoln, like undertaking to shovel fleas: “You take up a shovelful, but before you can dump them anywhere they are gone.”—Katherine Franke (Putting Sex to Work)
“In a sense, even this paper could be seen as an extension of the scene of “KONY 2012,” as it represents a reaction to the video that discusses its relevance to the question of the circuit—and even as it considers how virality expands the scene of circulated media.”—
Actual worst sentence from my final final paper of college. 16 pages. Due today at 9 a.m.
I probably wrote this line around 7:30 a.m., after locking myself in a study room at 2 p.m. yesterday to start/finish the essay.
“I believe very strongly that people on the left are too prone to do things that are emotionally satisfying and not politically useful. I have a rule, and it’s true of Occupy, it’s true of the gay-rights movement: If you care deeply about a cause, and you are engaged in an activity on behalf of that cause that is great fun and makes you feel good and warm and enthusiastic, you’re probably not helping, because you’re out there with your friends, and political work is much tougher and harder.”—In Conversation: Barney Frank (via toasterwaffles)
“I don’t like this expression “First World problems.” It is false and it is condescending. Yes, Nigerians struggle with floods or infant mortality. But these same Nigerians also deal with mundane and seemingly luxurious hassles. Connectivity issues on your BlackBerry, cost of car repair, how to sync your iPad, what brand of noodles to buy: Third World problems. All the silly stuff of life doesn’t disappear just because you’re black and live in a poorer country. People in the richer nations need a more robust sense of the lives being lived in the darker nations. Here’s a First World problem: the inability to see that others are as fully complex and as keen on technology and pleasure as you are.”—Teju Cole (quoted in “What’s Wrong with First World Problems,” The Atlantic) (via grrrlstudies)