Friday, July 3, 2009

Messing Up the Paintwork

My mind is officially blown; Mercury is in my 1st house, so I'm bombarded with extraordinary information and writing and new concepts. In the spirit of the first item, I hereby am not allowed to simply rant but must actually do something concrete as regards everything I note here.

Sorry to break the news, but you are not Neda: Study shows Facebook activism is for shit. A researcher created a fake activist page about an issue that didn't even exist, and had hundreds subscribe. They were so alienated from actually physically doing something that they didn't even realize the issue didn't exist.

People have long sought to accessorize their souls through loud public expressions of concern; Facebook and blogging and etc. are just new kinds of loudspeakers.

Don't get me wrong; I love, love hearing the thoughts, whereabouts, jokes, metas, madnesses, links, music, video clips, all of it from my tiny group of online friends. Some of my days would be killer-dull without your brilliance.

It's the random naive, simplistic political rants I could do without. I used to have to edit letters to the editor, so I developed this allergy to tortured metaphors and carelessly brandished outrage unaccompanied by any viable solutions or power or effort to execute the orders these writers issued to the world from their safe basements. Nausea, hives, worse.

From the Post:

What surprised Colding-Jorgensen about people's behavior on his site was that the group was "in no way useful for horizontal discussions." Users wanted not to educate themselves or figure out how to save the fountain, but to parade their own feelings of outrage around the cyber-public. "Just like we need stuff to furnish our homes to show who we are," says Colding-Jorgensen, "on Facebook we need cultural objects that put together a version of me that I would like to present to the public."

What I'll do? Keep on doing my volunteering and etc., and not bore you about a single bit of it, dear.

Haven't You Ever Listened to Country Music? When it comes to Mr. Sanford (not Fred, by the way), I'm practicing love the sinner, hate the sin. A man who writes, married or not, adoringly of a woman kneeling over him, holding her breasts, well, I just can't object to that in any way. But I hate the politician who voted against health care for children.

The latest outrage by women about his comment that he's "trying to learn to fall in love" with his wife is misdirected as well. It's common in women's magazines and therapy, as I understand from others, to be ordered to "work" to "fall in love again," plan "date nights," "light candles," "improve communication," blah, blah, a task that sounds far more arduous than sifting compost. As Sandra Tsing Lo explains in her bright and beleaguered Atlantic piece:

Given my staggering working mother’s to-do list, I cannot take on yet another arduous home- and self-improvement project, that of rekindling our romance... what with all the abject and swallowed misery: Why do we still insist on marriage? Sure, it made sense to agrarian families before 1900, when to farm the land, one needed two spouses, grandparents, and a raft of children. But now that we have white-collar work and washing machines, and our life expectancy has shot from 47 to 77, isn’t the idea of lifelong marriage obsolete?

What I'll do: Same as ever, walk the earth like Krazy Kat and let the bricks of love hit me where they may. Often these are thrown, entirely metaphorically speaking, by the person I'm legally married to.

"Jealousy is considered precious, but it’s rarely described as an attribute of narcissism." That's from a great piece on "self-esteem," that much misunderstood term, contributed to by the always-insightful burner Maya. It goes into the mistaken conflation of self-esteem and narcissism, our culture of narcissism and competition, and our refusal to cultivate ourselves and create our own lives according to our true needs and desires.

Maybe reaching that point of positive self-esteem is the moment when we feel we are worth an investment in ourselves, despite the fact that time goes on without us. The death connection can be useful in that it’s a reminder that nobody is inherently better than anyone else, and that what we choose to do with our time is entirely up to us. As is (with the exception of our children) who we spend it with: people who care about themselves and act on it; people who care about us and act on it; or someone else entirely.

What I'll do: Not sure. Have to think about this one for a while.

The more you hate yourself, the more they love you: Really nice piece on a mini-genre in women's writing. Apparently, you'll have no trouble getting published if you choose to write about how much you hate your body or your emotional life. Women's plastic-surgery nightmares and that old reliable I'll Never Find A Husband rant really sell!

This genre has nothing to do with journalists opening a window into what life is like for women today. It does women no favours at all. It is entirely about perpetuating an editor's misogynistic image of what women are like (self-hating, self-obsessed) and making a semi-celebrity out of the writer in the belief that readers like to read journalists whose names and faces (and breasts) they recognize. I have no doubt that the women who write these articles truly feel the emotions they describe. But these women need help; they do not need to be made to feel that their professional USP is to play up their misery.

What I'll do: Shine up my womany-style personal essay, which deals with my romantic and sexual life but expresses no opinion at all about the size or shape of any of my body parts. I don't know how I managed to pull that off in this world. Anyway, finish it out and get it published some damn place.

PS: It was great to hear from wrekehavoc, the tireless, devoted, overqualified curator of Blatantly Bad 70s Music! I thought I was the only person on this planet who'd read the book by the Apple Records House Hippie. What I'll Do: Read more blogs and listen to more bad 70s music.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

aw, shucks, maria. i'm quiet, but i'm out there. (and when i say i'm out there, sometimes, i am soooo out there, lol.) happy 4th!