Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
And below is a clip of Spiritualized's "Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space" just because.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Saturday, November 20, 2010
One of the events we sponsor every year is the National Veterans Wheelchair Games, which is our version of the Paralympics. It's always amazing to me to see what these veterans can still do, even in wheelchairs. The other day I was labeling some pictures of a basketball from a past NVWG, and competition is fierce -- there were people getting knocked out of chairs and struggling to get around defenders, and all the typical excitement you'd expect in a basketball game, except, of course, the players weren't on their feet.
I think it's also pretty interesting to see what the veterans do with their lives after being paralyzed. This guy ran for state senate in Illinois against an incumbent and only lost by five percentage points, which is pretty impressive.
Also, as a more relevant observation, there are a lot of people who work there who are in actuality paralyzed veterans. I remember when I went in for my interview, I was in the elevator, and it stopped on a lower floor and a man in a wheelchair got in. It gave me a little bit of pause, because I didn't often see people in wheelchairs, regardless of what the organization is called. I think in the introduction to Davis, there was a statistic that labeled disabled people as the smallest minority we have, which is what makes it so jarring when we do see people who are in wheelchairs or have prosthetics. After being at PVA for a semester, however, I've found that I'm less shocked when I see people wheeling around the office, maybe because I'm getting used to it.
As much as we advocate for and are proud of our members, I think it's interesting that another main concern for PVA is "finding a cure for SCI/D [spinal cord injury and disease]." We were talking about how the medical establishment rejects disability studies because they'd rather find a cure for paralysis than advocate for it, but PVA mixes both ideas. What do you guys think?
Friday, November 19, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Monday, November 15, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Friday, November 12, 2010
I have also, for the first time ever, turned to Twitter for some light recreation, specifically in the form of this particular Tweet, which owns the world for the funniest Tweet ever. Just like last night, I'll be smiling for the remainder of the evening thanks to Paul Pierce.
I'm actually writing a paper on Saville's work for my Aesthetics class this semester, and some of what I will be discussing is relevant to this reading. Saville is known for her huge canvases of the female body, with a twist. "Her published sketches and documents include surgical photographs of liposuction, trauma victims, deformity correction, disease states and transgender patients." Her paintings are difficult to look at, but they are truly beautiful, masterful works of art.
This one is my favorite, and the subject of my Aesthetics paper. It is entitled "Hypen," and is supposedly an image of Saville herself with her sister. I think that this plays directly into Davis' Venus and Medusa concept...although I'll leave that discussion up to you!
Here are some more of Saville's works for you to enjoy (or revile):
Thursday, November 11, 2010
This is a blog post by someone who uses deviantART, which is a web community where artists can upload their work and share it with others for comment and critique. During the sign-up process, like many other websites, dA asks users to select their gender, either male or female. There were some transgender users who found this extremely offensive, and there was a huge blow-up about it, the details of which are outlined in the post. The fact that there was a huge outcry and debate over the distinction between gender, sex, and the various kinds of genders that people can now identify with, lead dA to change the way it let users display (or not display) their gender, as is explained in dA's CEO's blog post on the subject.
I just wanted to know what you guys thought about the subject. Did the users go too far in assuming that dA was being disrespectful? Did dA go too far in changing their sign-up interface? Or is this all just nuts?
I don't know how to reconcile all of this all of us being queer and all of us being made in God's image and all of us being hated by Jesus. Maybe we can use the comments section to do some theorizing?
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
- The lesbian body as active and masculinized
- The animalistic lesbian body
- The narcissistic lesbian body
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Monday, November 8, 2010
This might seem like a ridiculously naive connection to make, but while I was reading Foucault's selection from Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, I couldn't help but think of Ken Kesey's One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. Having recently read the novel for my Contemporary American Literature class, its themes are still echoing through my head. The emasculation and infantilization of the male psychiatric patients by Nurse Ratched, portrayed brilliantly in the film version of the novel by Louise Fletcher, reminded me of Foucault's references to "technicians of behavior" at Mettray whose sole responsibility it was to take away the individuality of the children. Indeed, the most tragic scene in the novel is at the end, where McMurphy has been lobotomized and therefore robbed of his unique personality.
Another reference to popular culture appeared in my mind while reading the selection as well, and I thought of the film version of A Clockwork Orange. Alex's experience with the Ludovico technique while in prison, which destroys his free will, resonated with me. These "therapies" that have been socially accepted as "useful" for psychiatric patients and violent prisoners alike seem so similar to the techniques used at Mettray which Foucault described.
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
In light of everything we've been reading about race, language, and masculinity, I thought it'd be interesting to throw Junot Diaz into the mix. If you've never heard of Diaz, he's a Dominican American author who currently has two published books: Drown, a collection of short stories, and The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, a novel that won a Pulitzer Prize in 2008. All of his writing has to do with the experience of Dominican immigrants in the United States, and many of his stories are told from the point of view of Yunior, a young Dominican American man.
I found this interview with Diaz on the NPR website and thought I'd share it, especially because he's an interesting guy to just listen to, especially because I've found that his manner of speaking is very similar to the way he writes.
In this interview, he talks about the fact that not many other people are writing about the Dominican American minority group, how he writes in English despite the fact that the language doesn't feel "organic" to him because it isn't his first language, and why he chooses to insert Spanish phrases into his writing without translating them -- much like Gloria Anzaldua.
I thought it would be interesting to put a more contemporary writer alongside everything we've read to so far, just to show how minority writers still see the things we're learning about as being major issues today.
Also, if you're interested, here's a story by Diaz, which was published in The New Yorker, just to show you what his writing is like.
And also because it's a really good story.
By coincidence I happened to just have read and given a presentation on "Borderlands/La Frontera" in my Gender and Literature class. While doing research for my presentation, I stumbled upon an interview with Anzaldua that reminded me of the discussion we had last class regarding Henry Louis Gates, Jr.'s article. Anzaldua had just finished explaining her frustration with the way Borderlands is taught in colleges and high schools, claiming that they leave the angrier parts of the story out. The question and answer following her explanation of frustration is what reminded me of our discussion of Gates:
"Interviewer: The task, therefore, is to keep the traditional approaches in mind somehow but don't stay there, right?
G.A.: Yes, that's it. It is the same kind of struggle mestizas have living at the borders, living in the borderlands. How much do they assimilate to the while culture and how much do we resist and risk becoming isolated in the culture and ghettoized? This issue applies to everything."*
This is the same dilemma that Gates spoke of in his article about black writers. How much of one's culture must one sacrifice in order to be received by the literary elite? This is an interesting thing to keep in mind for the Anzaldua piece we were assigned to read for tomorrow. The language and genre shifting text seems to challenge this notion of "holding back one's culture" as Anzaldua pushes the boundaries of texts that has been received critically. Providing no english translations, Anzaldua will switch between english and spanish without warning and without regret. Some entire pages are taken by the language shift, and only meant to be understood by those who speak the native tongue. She feels that the best way to represent the things that she says is through spanish, so she makes no sacrifices and does so.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Anyway, on to the actual post:
Anyone who knows me will tell you that I have a weird thing for rock musicals, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson, the newest Broadway show in that category, is no exception. The show tells the life story of our seventh president, Andrew Jackson, through punk rock and a little imaginative storytelling (in other words, don't expect to find this expletive-laced version of events in any American history textbook).
I've always liked "The Corrupt Bargain" for two reasons: 1) it's really amusing and 2) it's fairly accurate to what most people perceive the Corrupt Bargain of the Election of 1824 to be. Basically, the myth is that Andrew Jackson lost to John Quincey Adams when the presidential election went to the House of Representatives not because Adams actually won, but because Henry Clay convinced the House to vote for Adams once Adams agreed to appoint Clay to be Secretary of State.
I know it's confusing. It's a little less confusing in song.
Why is this relevant? Because somewhere in the middle of the song is the line, "I'm sure Michel Foucault would have an opinion, but he hasn't been born yet." We haven't gotten to Foucault in the Norton yet (and we won't until next week), but the song begs the question: What would Foucault have to say about this bit of American history? And what might he say about our current discourse about the Election of 1824? We are making punk rock songs about it and putting them into a Broadway show, after all.
Just some food for thought. And some music from my massive random collection for when you feel like procrastinating on whatever paper you have to do.