|Maya Deren by Liz Laribee|
|Maya Deren by Liz Laribee|
"There might be the germ of a cautionary tale there for you," her father said, looking at Dunham with quizzical fondness. "We’ve encountered this in the past, where your idea of the funny merges a little too convincingly with the real. It’s funny to say, ‘I sleep with my parents,’ but it’s also too close to being massively weird. And you will have to navigate this for the rest of your life."This played into the episode. I am still traveling through the layers of stunned and impressed.
"Jokes about rape, or race, or incest or any of that kind of stuff, it’s not office O.K." her interviewer tells her before showing her the door. In other words, feel free to write what you know, but understand it’s not for everyone.Despite the deftness with which this episode is sliced together - tightly between small conversations - I emphasized a line from each one in my notes. Although "So you know Venice is sinking. And I was like, we gotta get outta here!" loses something without Jemimah Kirke's gesticulation. I really enjoy her. She resembles people I have, on a more profound and tender level, known and had affection for, and I like that so far, her lines have been scant and carefully posited around the action.
The criticisms being directed at Girls are misguided
[It] focuses on the characters' narrow worldview, the lack of diversity of their friend circle, their sense of entitlement and the pettiness of their problems. Meanwhile, the criticism that the show Girls makes about middle class New Yorkers is that they take their privilege for granted, are entitled, narrow minded, unaware and have pretensions of being special, talented and liberal. The show's creators are attempting to make many of the same points as their critics. (I'd like to address the pettiness of their problems but it's beyond the scope of this article.) Girls is documenting a reality, and people are reacting with outrage about that reality, but they are directing their anger at the documentarian and confessor. People are essentially trying to kill the deliverer of bad news.
Lena wrote, directed and stars in an indictment of her own spoiled self, and was her own target long before she was the target of this current blast of criticism. If Lena hates any race of people it would seem to be white people....People are free to hate the show but some of the backlash has been unfair.
- Jesse Levine at the Puffington Host
Television is nowhere near diverse enough — not in its actors, its writers or its show runners. The problems identified by critics of Girls are systemic, traceable to network executives who greenlight shows and shoot down plenty of others. It’s at that level that diversity stands or falls.
And Girls is hardly alone in its whiteness. Far more popular shows like Two and a Half Men or How I Met Your Mother blithely exist in a world that rarely considers race. They’re less scrutinized, because unlike the Brooklyn-bohemian demimonde of Girls, the worlds of those shows are ones that writers and critics — the sort who both adore and have taken offense at Girls — have little desire to be a part of.
Thus far the tone of the reception to Girls has been distinctly personal, as if its arrival has remedied a longstanding grievance of certain vocal members of the news media: that there weren’t any shows aimed squarely at them, with characters who live lives they recognize. But Girls ended up* being a letdown to some of those viewers for precisely the same reason it is an innovation: It has no real competition. It is the antidote to more conventional programs, but it has no antidote of its own. It has to carry the hopes of a whole class of viewers who ache to see themselves represented but who can’t all possibly fit in.
Ms. Dunham’s relatability also plays a part in the intimacy of the critiques. Many of the naysayers are themselves young creatives who identify as squarely in, or near, Ms. Dunham’s demographic. Ms. Dunham — as a young female show runner, a rarity — is readily identifiable to her target viewers. They likely feel more access to her than to, say, Tina Fey, and therefore find it easier to share true feelings with her, even the negative ones. That Ms. Dunham is an anomaly has also made her more vulnerable.What’s a worse fate: clumsy token diversity or honest whiteness?
argues that modern "working women" - I'm sorry, was there ever a time when women actually did no work? - find "the pressure of economic participation... all that strength and independence and desire and going out into the world...exhausting." Roiphe goes on to theorise, based on precisely one film, one tv show and one novel, that "for some, the more theatrical fantasies of sexual surrender offer a release, a vacation, an escape from the dreariness and hard work of equality."Penny writes off Roiphe's bizarro generalization by digging into the problem of which such batshit behavior is a symptom:
In a culture where women who express sexual agency are punished, humiliated and threatened with real rather than ritualised violence, that sort of fantasy is entirely comprehensible. What is more significant is that submission - alongside, from time to time, sex work - is the only kind of female sexual ‘unorthodoxy’ that is currently deemed worthy of discussion - unorthodoxy trussed up tight by the bondage tape of patriarchal expectations. Unorthodoxy that happens to involve fantasies of being dominated by men. Unorthodoxy practiced exclusively, if we go by the ‘examples’ Roiphe’s investigation turns up, by women who are young, and white, and straight, and middle-class, and, most importantly, fucking fictional."Having to speak for the entire condition of womankind" - I have said it before.
INCIDENTALLY - why is it that young, white, straight, middle-class, fictional women are the only type of women that routinely interest the trendmaking mainstream press? And why is it that women are not permitted to be creative without having to speak for the entire condition of womankind? The most exhaustively discussed new cultural artifacts in recent weeks - Fifty Shades of Grey and Lena Dunham's new HBO show Girls - are being treated as if they were straight memoirs, rather than, in one case, a piece of redrafted fan-fiction based around a story that was originally about vampires? Is it because we don't believe that a woman can truly create fiction or write meaningfully without drawing entirely on her own experience? Is it because mainstream culture still lacks a language to talk about women's issues and women's lives that is not at once confessional and riddled with lazy stereotypes? Is it because most 'fictional' women are still created, cast and directed by men? Is it because we don't believe women can actually be artists?
After she finished "Medusa," Plath realized how little its strategy resembled that of her other October poems. Unlike "Bees," in which apparent autobiography is really calculated melodrama, or "Daddy" and "The Applicant," in which apparent autobiography is really black farce, "Medusa" relies for success on its artful construction: an imagined narrator, placed in the throes of an invented situation, responds in direct and emotional language….At no stage in her career did Plath engage in writing strict autobiography. Yet the strained voice of "Medusa"'s narrator echoed the pain Plath felt as she wrote the poem. – Paul Alexander, Rough Magic: a Biography of Sylvia PlathIn a 1968 interview with the Paris Review, in response to being asked why it took her thirty years to begin writing, Anne Sexton said, "I didn't know I had any creative depths." Sexton's attending physician informed her that the value of her poems lay in what was springing forth without her knowledge—the secrets she was too damaged to appreciate, that she had any depths at all—and not the skill with which they were crafted.
Woodman reveals the injuries that occur in the time it takes to produce a single picture: hair turns wispy, flesh fades and stretches into smoke. The longer her shutter stays open, the blurrier and more transparent bodies will appear, until at last they disappear.Also coming: riding the lace barometer by j/j hastain - IRL! - and THE FUN PERCENT. The three people who took the absolute longest were all friends of mine, of course, and the one that's taking the longest is the closest. I am so thrilled to implement the next stage of that project.
...Pat told a friend who loved Flannery O'Connor's work a story about her time at Yaddo with the deeply religious O'Connor. Nearly every night, she said, she and Chester Himes and other colonists would go out and drink themselves into stupors, and:
"Flannery O'Connor would never go with them. One night they went out on another bender, and once again, Flannery refused to come, and they left her on the porch. And there was a tremendous thunder and lightning storm and [when they came back] there was Flannery kneeling on the porch. And Pat said: 'What are you doing?' And Flannery said: 'Look, can't you see it?!' And she's pointing to some knot in the porch wood. And then she said: 'Jesus' face.'
And Pat said to me, 'That happened. And ever since then I've not liked that woman.'"
|Rudoph Schwarzkogler, Vienna Actionist, subject of Supervert|