Monday, December 6, 2010
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
At the exposure gallery on tabula rasa
From the artist's statement...
Artist Statement Eliza Wierwight
"Symbolic - A woman's potential journey symbolized by the veneer of the dresses ( masks ) we wear . The trophies we acquire as we become trophies to society's expectations and our inherent values reflected by both. The darkness of that undertow contained in the veneer of beauty. I both claim and deny these duties."
This piece was a part of Eliza Wierwight's University of Western Australia 1st Prize Flagship Challenge on June 9, 2010. It was displayed in the PATRON build designed by Eliza Wierwight which is at the time of writing this notecard in contention for being built in real life.
UWA blog announcement of winners.
This specific dress includes textures gifted to Eliza by Cuwynne Deerhunter & Igor Ballyhoo .
a drenching pain dissolving the bonds that bind one people to another.
Leaving behind a flurry gray of ash and molten mire.
A dirge writ with Destiny as hidden author.
Played for this, fifth or sixth, neo-Roman Empire
We are shouted at too demure,
We are told that we are too pure,
So much Freedom, to endure.
A knock, a bullet, an unnumbered flight,
the remnants not to come to light.
An election by election,
decision by decision,
This becomes some less perfect union,
as those who made it rebel,
and call the country they have made a hell.
Deeper into the darkness we descend,
farther into the mountains we cannot defend,
further into the night that does not end,
scourging hurts we will not mend.
Tortured tangled maimed and bloody sulk,
Behind once a country, to be reborn a twisted hulk.
Friday, September 24, 2010
It is class, and the nouns of ancient tongue clatter and clash
within your brain.
The nuance escapes of vocative interogative ablative instrumental.
And more of a bearded teacher grown, with age, swirled
And if you were so inclined,
a flashing smile might win more than your mind.
Whether you are a boy or girl,
would not matter to him at this point.
In the class rankings with this semester,
bloated on the food, and blissful risking trimester.
The finals were spent with sun and sand,
rather than in library cloister.
Your words are not tight, but out of hand
poured on page, to quickly scatter.
But what does it really matter?
As a sophmore, the world's an oyster.
The offer is not fat enough,
the workload seems large and rough,
the boss is absolutely to gruff.
You're in demand, so why work, when you can slough.
But there are shadows closing in,
is this the only place there is to win?
It is twilight, and the second self has left,
you sit there drinking, alone, and berift.
The choices are simple, and of a time,
do you stand and live,
or do you decline?
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
This is on a parcel owned by several libertarian extropians. Yes the brown things are what you think they are. No I didn't have anything to do with it, I just took the picture.
Seems like the tea is weak on Second Life. By the time I left they were blaming leftists. Obviously the anarcho-capitalist Mormon Ayn Rand following leftists about which we hear so much.
Saturday, September 18, 2010
This is a picture of one moment of my kinetic sculpture "In the Belly of the Beast," in model form, the original takes up a full sim. The churning and swirling shapes are meant to evoke the noise and chaos of the decade we have left behind: wars, storms, and a pervasive collapse of hope. It will be part of next week's show I am doing at the Lillie Pad.
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
I am putting together a small showing of some of my works in SL, largely pictures because I do not have access to the prims for my sculptures. It will include models, portraits, pictures of others builds as landscapes, and a rotating display of some of my sculptures.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
I have walked, I have stood,
I have had my body pushed against the wall.
I have learned, trust no one. No one.
Not the man who warms you bed,
not the professors who fill your head,
not the parties in the fray,
whose rhetoric holds the day.
Trust no one,
not the voices that claim for good,
or the lonely misunderstood.
Trust no one my child, trust no one.
For in the bitter end,
they will steal the smallest value,
and think they were a friend.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
Sunday, July 4, 2010
However, it hasn't for some time, partially because fewer and fewer interesting people are entering, and more and more it is a grind of a few places and pleasures. New technology and another wave of improvements might change this, but from what I have seen, probably not. M can be rereplaced by P but that's not the root of the problem. Second Life is caught: it is hard to be yourself, and even harder not to be. Flashes of the real person glimmer, and fade. That which was out of reach years ago, is still out of reach. Second Life has gone through its cycle and is fading, as I felt it would even as I first pushed through.
However, the same topics interest me, and still are unfulfilled in ordinary life. The same problem with writing about sex as a spiritual activity that Second Life had, is general. While virtual worlds are more visible in how people enact and expose their libido, the problems are the same. The desires are the same, only the navigation of them changes.
For the same reason there is a need to write fiction. Two novels stare back at me, unfinished, a bed unmade, creates a troubled sleep.
So later this month I will redo this blog, and see if there's light at the end of this particular tunnel. The world is still the world, we are still sexual beings, and there is a great mass of sexism to cut through, there is a great mass of racism to cut through. Consider this list of most beautiful women. All are white, except two, who are white with enough color. No Latinas, no Asians, no dark Africans. Out of 3 billion women in the world, 2.5 billion do not qualify for their taste. Those of us who don't, aren't oblivious to this message.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
Saturday, May 29, 2010
Thursday, May 20, 2010
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
could connect such pure tensions,
as encompass that which is... life.
If only a phrase, could flow,
in its air, pressed out from the lungs,
as the water flows to waves and tide.
If only sentences could fold their faults,
and form a ring as solid as the stone,
that makes mountains grow.
If only the days could be as pages,
to turn them when we will,
and mark them as we wish.
Or left open for all the days,
forgotten until found,
by newly flowered eager eye.
Sunday, May 9, 2010
est ce que vous choisissez de dire
Pas plus, pas moins.
ne diminuant pas.
Ne changement, ne demeurant pas le même.
Ne me regrettez pas ne vous connaissent pas mieux,
regrettez que vous ne savez pas ce qui est meilleur dans vous.
Saturday, May 8, 2010
Saturday, May 1, 2010
noyez les pensées subtiles qui tranquillement,
sur la vaste plage de l'esprit,
sélection par le bois et les coquilles,
comme les crustacés minuscules de la mer.
Cherchant qu'un morceau vrai,
parmi tout les sable non comestible.
Je sais que vous êtes désespéré,
et dans l'amour avec amour.
Mais vous ne savez pas encore l'amour,
ni vous me savez.
Au revoir mon ami, peut-être nous nous réunirons
quand vous n'êtes plus un garçon, mais un homme.
Friday, April 30, 2010
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Let me talk about racism directly. Racism is the use of power to enforce a category of race. It is the avoidance of the fabric of racism in the society, because this makes the implicit racism more powerful. This is like many other forms of discrimination, many other forms of oppression: elevating to a high level certain people and their texts, in order to force the direction of the world in particular ways. Kant is one example, he's remembered well, but almost by accident. Kant, the writer, was trying to reimpose God, and other forms of hard category. He feared a material, rationally dominated world, and so he attacked "pure reason" as a way of reasserting pre-rational ideas. It is a thread running through the skeptical philosophers: attack the connection between perception and reality, as a way of reasserting the need for a basis in reality, and of reality.
I face this on a regular basis in the real world, as there are drifting tensions in my own life. Race, and its related bundle of words, are everywhere, and in my part of the world, many of us, me and my friends, come from households that are immigrant to America, and have parents and relatives who have what they call old fashioned ideas, but are basically just bad excuses for the way things always were. I will take one example, a friend of mine is hoping to marry, she is dating a man who is not of the same ethnic background, and is conflicted because her parents don't approve. They don't approve because of the ethnicity.
Her conflict is that she has to pretend to listen, or lose contact with her parents. Visits home become stressful. She hates herself, because she is being a bad daughter in the eyes of her world, and hates herself because marrying is required to be a good daughter, and this is the man she thinks she wants to marry. I listen, because I can not tell her in good faith to not talk to her parents, or to leave the man she loves, and who, as far as I can tell, loves her. This dilemma is not tied up with race necessarily, the conflict between parents wanting to pick, or at least strongly influence, their children's choice of mate is old and comes from money, social standing, religion, nationality, occupation, and who knows what else triggers the disapproval of parents.
So I see this. And I feel it. Get along, or be true to a truth that the checkered colors of skin, or shapes of nose, or whatever else, are random, compared to the qualities of the person.
This is why I find the world I am in so intolerable, it is very clear that there is a craving for race and racism. There is a demand by people who ought to know better to conform. The only thing people can do, is to avoid such groups, because the result is always grief. One of those on Second Life is Philosophy Island, which is a racist organization that actively promotes and protects racism in its ranks, and then makes excuses for it when questioned.
While at a recent meeting on "Philosophy Island" one of the leaders there Rhiannon Dragoone began with her gloss on Kant. I pointed out that a problem with Kant's logic is his racism, she immediately said this was "off topic." As some one with the power to ban, who does ban, this was an exercise of power. However, the question was not off topic, because Kant's theory of race is not separate from his division into perceptions and reality, in that he offers the idea that there are some perceptions which point to an underlying immutable series of principles.
Kant asserts what he calls the categorical imperative as the basis for morality, and the will to morality as being in the person. If racism is immoral, then Kant fails being moral, but if not Kant, who is the perfect example of what Kant says should be a moral human being, then who? If Kant is moral, then racism must be true, since he sets these things as being equal to each other, and a direct result of the same argument that he presents in his critiques.
Then I left. Rhiannon ejected another person for elaborating, and then thanked Sunfire Langer, another leader there, for hurling insults. This from someone who makes a big deal about no personal attacks. Sunfire Langer made excuses in a private IM.
I find this a great deal on Second Life: people setting what they call discussion groups, which are really vehicles for using the petty powers of banning, and the veil of being unknown to the public, as a way of creating their own little egotistical bubble. Philosophy Island is one of these organizations: it is a racist and abusive group of people who present as being reasonable, until their underlying illogic is pointed out. Then they call you an idiot and ban you.
Sunfire said not to take them seriously, and that is the best advice I can give. Don't get sucked into them, or give them credit for being anything except what they are.
I promised when writing this blog, that I would stay away from explanations of the bigger picture, and focus only on what I see and what I know. I do not know what drives people to these kinds of categorical evils, but I see them, and wish I could do more than push words into the ether.
I spent some days, almost a year ago, writing about forgery and Errol Morris' posts. Morris is obsessed with the acceptable limits of recreation, because he uses it in his documentaries. He is proposing a truth in his films, or that his films are ways of getting at what actually happened. Thus he is always concerned with what kind of recreation, or dramatization is "real." Is it acceptable to re-arrange cannonballs? What makes a painting "real," or "original?"
These questions concern me in my own world, because in art we are trying to draw a line, a line that plumbs a depth. Remember to plumb is to tie a lead weight to a string. We get the word plumbing from the same place. That line is from what we see, to the thing itself, the work or text, and back to the hand that made them. From the hand, to the mind that moved the hand. That is why we worry about who did what, because we are trying to find the pattern that made Rembrandt's hand, his, or anyone else. What makes a great artist, is that they have a certain way with moving from the inner well of self, through the hand, to the result. We want to feel that process in reverse, and so, become in some way, part of it.
In painting, there is a sharp and harsh dividing line for Western paintings, as I wrote of before, that line, is Prussian Blue. Prussic acid has a complex chemistry, even today we do not completely understand its total workings. But what it did, along its successors in chemical pigments, was not only change the painter, and the paintings, but our eyes. We are used to vivid colors, we are used to blue. The era after the discovery of artificial blues, is rich in them. Before? Blue was difficult and expensive, and so it was the center piece of the composition.
That is why forgers of paintings before that line, who worked after it, are often tripped up by Prussian Blue. There are other important lines for other important pigments of course, such as zinc white, but the bluing of our eyes, is the most dramatic. This is part, of the aesthetic of capital, which is, I will argue, a fundamental part of capital-ism. Capital aesthetic is the preference for the products of technology, or other means of improving the production of labor, or reduction of scarcity. We like the substitute of being conscious of production, for the activities of labor, or ownership.
Let me start with an obvious forgery, and show why it is acceptable, only because we are conditioned to see it that way. Here is the image. On the left, a forgery, on the right, the original. The use of a vastly blue background is acceptable to us, because we have seen it in historical pictures, and in our own time. But in its time, that much blue, floridly splashed across the back, is out of place. It would have been very expensive, and therefore would have been used not merely as a background, but as the sky, or other symbol. It might as well have been gilt in gold. We have seen the productions of paintings for the rich, and assume blue was normal, because it is normal to us. But in its moment, such a portrait could not have afforded that much blue, and if the patron could have, he would have wanted an artistic statement.
We see blue. They saw a great deal of money.
Even when the artist gets the use of blue in quantity correct, the cost of Prussic Acid, is just too sweet to ignore.
As I wrote in the long series of essays, one of the great forgeries of Prussic Blue, is not in paint, but in the claims that the holocaust could not have happened, because the gas chambers are not stained with the tell tale cyanide color. The reason for this, as I also explained, is that the places where there is staining used reagent that gives cyanide a more pungent smell. It is meant to warn people, because by the time an individual smells the tell tale bitter almond, it is often too late. But the Zyklon B used for the gas chambers, had no such reagent, and the reagent acts as a binding catalyst for the formation of prussic acid in the presence of iron. The claim is false, because in the delousing stations, where everyone could admit the use of poison to kill insects, they used the ordinary chemical, with safety reagent in it. In the death chambers, the Nazi's did not.
This too, is aesthetic of capital. We learn to recognize early the hand of production, because it is important to know. Why do people fake bought cakes as home made? I remember it happening several times in my childhood. The first time, I stared at the chocolate cake, twin to the one a family friend had brought over the day before. I had gotten sick on the icing, taking a finger through it and licking it. I remembered the impossibly neat icing, and thought it odd. The next day, shopping with my mother, I knew why. The cake was made by machine, and the family friend had lied about buying it.
The death chambers of the Nazi's are acts of capital. They worked in their grisly work, because the people who built them knew how a factory of death should work, because they knew how a factory should work. They knew how to bring in inputs, and move them through a process, and dispose of the bodies. It was this factory of death aesthetic that made it possible to kill so many, so quickly, and without real understanding by the outside world. In contrast, the Japanese attack on Nanjing, with its massacre and atrocities, used capital to kill, but it was capital as consumption. Nanjing was not a death factory, but instead, a killing field. People used capital, but they did not make capital.
I think this contrast, this guilt, is what drives the making of a film about John Rabe a member of the Nazi Party in China, living in Nanjing, who saved hundreds of thousands of people, by organizing safe zones, and delaying the massacre of civilians. In a sense this is an attempt to counter the image of all Germans as being complicit in atrocities, it is also a contrast of how in one place the humanity remains, while at home, it did not.
The forger kills the past, he substitutes a faked artifact, creating confusion backwards, to the hand, the mind, the moment of the mind. And it is that inner pattern that we seek to hold, and in some sense copy. The forgery is then any attempt to distort the pattern of the past: to disclaim that past. All forgeries play, then, on our sympathies, and therefore, on our differences with the past. The past as someone wished it could be, or wanted it to be. The same forgeries that worked to perfection in one place, are embarrassing in others.
The role of Rabe then, can be either a balance, an accent of color in the darkness of the history of Nazi-ism, or it can be an attempt to wash it, to paint over that history. How we look at it, and how it is presented, is as important as the content of the film itself. It is one thing to show a Nazi businessman engaging in humanity for those he can see, while being part of a vast machine. There is a conflict in aesthetic: he cannot bear to watch being made, the tissues of his own empire.
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Saturday, April 10, 2010
It just shows that most western horror these days, is people who could not make it in porn.
Friday, April 9, 2010
I am not sure of this, but I have heard similar things from several technologically inclined people. I would be happy to be wrong, but suspect that if anything the situation is worse and that LL is deliberately trying to cripple old viewers.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Chiyo Linden: (Saved Thu Apr 8 06:01:46 2010) Please stop spamming Abuse Reports. One a day is more than sufficient.
This was in response to several abuse reports associated with a PG orgy area. Clearly, Linden Labs view is they don't do anything to enforce their own rules, and they get very annoyed when people document that the rules are being violated.
I think LL is trying to set a new low for unresponsive hostile customer service.
Monday, April 5, 2010
Hmmm. Yes... ummmmm.
Please grow up people? Porn, romance novels, fashion, shopping, sports, and most techno-gadgets all come from the same place. It is a place that we try and reach, where the world is more the way our feelings would want it to be. We try and reify that sense, or consume the reification of others. We want to make the evanescent fantasy moment, real before our eyes and senses. In its rarified form, it is art, literature. In its more pragmatic form it is life. In its tawdry form, it's porn, the celebration of being able to consume on camera. I've done a lot of porn, and the one question that men always want to have answered is "do you feel it? does it get you off?" They are always looking for a woman who reifies their cravings, because, honestly they want the craving without having to work, the mango that just falls from the tree.
However to blame the creation for the urges of creating it, or less still to blame the creation for the urge to consume the creation, is getting it backwards. The National Review Online's anonymous gets it so wrong... her husband, and she in all probability, ruined their marriage. Porn was just the fixation, the compression, of what was missing: visual appeal, sexual freedom, and a release from all the realities of a marriage with five children.
It is not that the pain of loss is not real, and it isn't that anyone should have much, if any, sympathy for a man who shares in creating five children, makes promises of forever, and then runs out. I certainly don't. He'll find the make up peels, the boobs sag, and probably his new porn girl will find he has moved on. If anything the post is an excellent argument for garnishing wages for child support, not about porn, because there are millions of stories of a man running out, and they don't all revolve around porn, but they all revolve around the man running out.
Recently I experienced a break up, where the guy was sort of making noises about marriage, but in reality, he didn't really consider it. Many of my friends spent their twenties with boy friends who were just not going to get married to the first girl they met. I'm sure there are big picture problems that are contributing to what, from here, seems like an epidemic. But as far back as we read human literature, there are stories of a man chasing and catching a woman, getting her pregnant, and then running on to the next woman. It's classic mythology. In some stories he runs, and in others, he gets caught in one way or another. So if the people of forever ago antiquity saw this, it's a pretty good wager to say that it will be with us for a while yet.
So the whole whose porn is worse is missing the reality: Mr. Anonymous is an awful human being with not a shred of decency. Mrs. Anonymous, if she looks at herself, will probably see some imperfections that contributed to this sorry situation. What Mr. Anonymous' excuse to himself for running out is totally beside the point. It could have been an African American girl with a round ass, it could have been a blond boy, it could have been a slinky thing with fishnets, it could have been anything. Reading between the lines, it seems like he had checked out of the marriage a while ago, and was simply waiting for his chance to leave.
If there is a discussion worth having here, it is why we spend sooo much time in this society talking about marriage, supposedly celebrating permanent monogamy, celebrating child rearing, and do so little, both as a collective and as individuals, to make it all work. Fantasy is neither constructive nor destructive, in itself, it is how we seek that concrete version of it that is constructive or destructive. It wasn't the porn that lured an otherwise good Mr. Anonymous into the arms of a bimbo, it was that he was always looking to get there. Mrs. Anonymous, if she wants someone to blame, should ask herself why Mr. Anonymous disappeared off into pornland, and the answer is probably in part her own actions and the way she treated her husband. I say this, because taking responsibility is crucial, and she can not do that, even in the after light. Instead, she turns it into a talking point in someone else's ideological crusade. An activity that others seem happy to help her with.
So I write this simple ending: I feel Mrs. Anonymous' hurt, because it is a hurt that almost every woman knows, the promise of forever and ever broken for a hand full of flesh. But don't blame the camera, or the pictures, or the society, for what is your story. Pick up, protect your children, and yourself. And, if you are motivated to political activism, then be motivated to make it so that men will stop treating marriage like a bank, which they rob and then try and make a break when they have looted everything of value.
You have five children Mrs. Anonymous, and a porn crusade has nothing to do with them. Think of your children first, you are all they have.
Friday, February 26, 2010
I've tried reason, I've tried anger, I've tried personal connection. But what it really is, is that some where, not just in my home country, but everywhere, a deep infection has fallen. People do not need to bend, but find that by pure viciousness, they can make the weak around them bend. I think Yeats saw it, and his quote is all to often put forward. But perhaps his time, and ours, share the disease.
The Second Coming
William Butler Yeats
TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
The language is steeped in the Western Bible, particularly the Bible in English, but for all of that it projects a rough presence that could be written yesterday, or tomorrow, or next week.
But observation is worthless, because it is the common province to see the obvious, and ascribe a completely fantastical and imaginary cause to it. So I feel I must look farther away from this to another there, to what drives this. Clearly, I believe that part of this is the mere success. The vicious hold sway, the more single minded, the more powerful, the more doubtful their opposition, the more pure their victory. In critical and post-modern theory, and in science, there is doubt, and provisionality. All is in flux, and we must hold to the best we know, which is changing.
But then come the undead of discussion, the zombies who come in waves and droves, and do not relent or slow. Who wear their ignorance like a badge, and who sweep it like a banner. I am a small person, and all I can see is waves of red flags, like the revolutionary youth. I believe, at this point, that it will not end, until it ends in violence, for that is the ultimate currency of those who have no minds to change, over those who have no spines to stand.
This is why I think that zombies are now everywhere in film, because the mad undead are all around us, and they are eating the rest of us alive.
It is madness I tell you, madness. There are riots on the streets, and the shop stalls are looted for bread or whatever other small valuables could be carried away. People stood on balconies, children grabbing their parents legs, wives grabbing husbands. The news broke suddenly, and panic, that all fear, has grabbed the city.
It is 494 since the first Olympiad, the 74th year of the reign of Alexandros of Macedon, God-Emperor of the world, and he has died in Persopolis. It was 10 days, and the news has reached this, the most civilized city in the world.
The library is burning, I can see the heaps of smoke from it even at this distance, and the mayor has set himself as a ruler. He lacks for everything except spears, and that is why I am here, stripped from my master's bed, his fluids still dripping down the inside of my thighs, and his blood spattered across the throw of linen that I had just thrown on when the armed soldiers cut his head off. It was an old score, he had many of them. I tremble to survive to see another dawn.
Now trembling I write this note and hide it in the table leg, so that you will know whatever was said, what ever was written, the reality is that the city is in chaos, erupting like a huge volcano. I am called Euterpe, the giver of pleasure, but I was born Hekate, and so I sign myself. Now I must scribe the orders of the new order, the words of the new word.
Such scrapes of the past were hard to find, and from that moment, when the arms of the First Empire convulsed after the death of Alexandros III, the Great-King, the God-King, almost impossible. It was too much to ask that this scrap was original, instead, it was a copy of a copy, but that it was made at all, and that he, alone, had found it, would make his reputation. Provided of course, it was genuine.
Which is why, in this the 720th year since the Olympiad, he had settled himself to comparing the cloth on which this scrap was written, to others of the same time, and looked closely at how the ink seeped. Old inks had dried, new inks still spread. He knew the figure, Hekate would survive that night, and indeed flourish. She would pen histories, and be celebrated. The library did not burn utterly, and while some few works were lost, most would live. Hekate's now had a shelf of their own, as she described in precise detail the coming of the Pinnacle of the First Empire, under the children of the Great King.
A whistling sound blew, it was the steam of hot water, whistling through the small hole of a kettle. He stopped, and poured it into a cup of herbs mixed, as was his habit, with honey. After the infusion wafted up through his nostrils, he dolloped a touch of yogurt into it, and mixed it thoroughly. He wished he could afford more of the fragrant leaves called "cha" but that was beyond the five coins of silver that he was paid weekly. The he set the cup on the only clear section of his desk, otherwise covered with scraps, pages, scrolls. He turned the lamp down, the dawn was coming.
He heard a loud whistle in the distance, and he looked out on the street. The first street car of the day was passing, it's rails of made by the new process, and driven by the touch of steam.
What interesting modern times we live in, he thought, and turned back to the scrap, which still might or might not be by Hekate Historia, as she was known.
He held the strip to the lamp, and looked through the woven fabric, stroking it with his fingers. He stared, and finally admitted that he needed to use an object which had become fashionable, but which he was uncomfortable with: a round lens of glass, shaped in a bulge, that greatly increased the size of objects seen through it. He disliked the distorting effect it had, and the shifting illumination of objects. Frankly it made him dizzy to stare through it, but so he did. He saw the fraying of the ink stained edges. This convinced him that, at least, if it was a forgery, it was an old one.
He turned and looked out the window again, the chair creaking under him. There was some commotion below as bread was going for sale. He stared at the awning as it dropped, and wondered if, of course assuming the fragment was genuine, Hekate had seen those same stalls, little changed by 300 years, actually looted, or was she imagining it. He tried to call to mind torch lit streets, and crowds. He tried to think of whether she smelled the burning of human flesh and hair. He tried, but could not. Hekate wrote much of her private life, but only after she had almost mysteriously appeared as the author and scribe for the revolting mayor. The armies of the new king swept all resistance before them, and examples were made. But when he reached Alexandria, the raging son of the Great stopped, and was met by a few people, wearing white. One, we know, was Hekate, because she was one of the few literate people left. The scribes had been among those targeted by the raging mob. They begged for peace, and submitted. The new king graciously allowed it, or seemed to. His army entered, but that night, the cult like followers he had acquired in his time in Indya came out, and assassinated the key leaders. Hekate was brought before him, deemed to be useful, since she alone had seen all of the documents, and could name all of the names he needed. For 10 days, a slab of stone soaked up the blood of one after another of the leaders. Then, it stopped.
But Hekate lived, and from this was made a historian. Two years later, she finished the only history of the revolt. She admitted in it to being a former slave, but of anything else, before, she was mute. She said that the city had passed through the underworld, and was reborn.
Those days, now called by various names, had been a wide ranging revolt, as long pent up anger finally erupted, To history Alexander was a God King, the Great King, but he was not beloved near his death. The taxes were high, the traditions he imposed strange, the reorganization of the governing of the empire, which he threw himself into, calling it "the second conquest of the world," was foreign to people who remembered, or thought they remembered, or longed to remember, a simpler age of greater autonomy. Alexander was born great, but he thrust greatness upon his age.
And this scrap was at least 200 hundred years old. At a bound, it jumped almost all of the distance between himself, and the tormented moment which was recognized to be the vital moment in his civilization. Alexander had made the empire, but the quashing of revolt had made it last. Without it, everyone felt, it would have sunk back into the mire, as the other Greek attempts at Empire had.
He looked through the glass again, and found that more strands of ink stand cloth had frayed, and that they had not yellowed before being stained. If it was fake, he had to admire the craft of it. He toyed with one of his five pieces of silver, and thought only one thought: he would go to the boy who sold it to him and find the rest. For there had to be a rest.
He scrounged among the clothes on the floor, and found his money pouch, there were coins of bronze. He knew one would take him on the rails to the outside of the city, where there was a pier, and at that pier into the river, he would hire a boat, and with him would be the young boy, dark face shining in the sun, who would take him to the trove from which this thread had been pulled.
Areteteles gathered himself, taking his new pen, which he had only lately discarded his quills for, and a pad of paper. It's sleek sheen was different from the papyrus he grew up with. He combed his beard, 50 years in this world had left lines on his face, and a balding patch that ran back half way to his crown. The curls of youth were still there, but white and gray with only flecks of brown and black. He threw a cloak over his shoulders, and put boots on, their soft leather worn by a good deal of age, even though he walked little. The soles were sound. He thought that a good metaphor for himself, as he spiraled down the stairs encased by the plaster covered walls, beige with age and dust. Worn, but with a soul still sound.
In his satchel, the commentaries on Aristotle, and notes for his history of the New Science, that thing which was sweeping the Second Empire. He wrote the first pages as a tirade against it, against its discomforting noise, and unearthly sheen, and polish, everything polished. But now, he admitted, the new science fascinated him.
Perhaps because one of its results, was a white extract from distant flowers, that soothed the gnawing pain in his back, and let him find sleep. His legs still worked, and he trod firmly step by step down, and then out into the open, arid, air. He brushed past people wearing costumes from a dozen lands, and stopped to wait in line to buy some bread and cheese. He sipped from his cup as he waited, and then placed it in his satchel after carefully drying it. He bought a loaf, and then wandered down looking for a crowd of people which would indicate where the steam chariot would stop.
Once there he saw strong armed work men lining up for a day of labor, and a few students waiting to be hauled across the city to the Library for classes. It was a long ride, but the rents here, in what was called the Painted Quarter, were very cheap. It was a jumble of low buildings, which were, in fact, unpainted. It was the women who came out at night who wore the blues and indigos, garish jewelry, and revealing clothes that plunged down almost to their navels.
He saw none of that now, but instead, the busy gathering of a day, the orange of first light giving way to a pure yellow that seemed to wash in buckets across everything, and splash on every fold, creating a sharp relief against long shadows that were quickly growing shorter.
The chariot stopped, he grabbed and pulled himself up, and pushed his way to the front. He watched out as it slowly crept along faster and faster, until it was the speed of a trotting horse. At first he though to stand the whole way, but when a seat opened, as they passed a large boxy building where fish were brought in to dry, and wheat ready to be sent to a mill, he sat, and took out his note pad, beginning to scribble with a nub of graphite.
Hekate, he breathed, who were you?
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
In the middle of last year, Twitter's growth slowed from 7.8 million new users a month to 6.2 million, according to a recent study from RJ Metrics. That report also found that only 17 percent of Twitter users updated their accounts in December -- an all-time low. An earlier study by the Nielsen Co. revealed 60 percent of Twitter users do not return from one month to the next. Taking that into account, it's tempting to conclude that Twitter is following in the footsteps of another social-media ghost town, Second Life.
A difference between twitter and second life, is that twitter is ultra-public. People get mean there, but not for long, because it does more damage than good. In second life, the anonymous are either much better, or much worse, than they would ever allow themselves to be in public as their rl identities.
Twitter turns everyone into something akin to the slurry of snow and sand, and grit, that washes along the edges of city streets in late winter melting days. But the waves of pure personal hatred that second life exposes, twitter does not even begin to touch.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
what ever we may rage towards,
whatever centers we hold ourselves
and where ever we stand.
Every moment the sun sets someplace,
and somewhere the dawn is at hand.
Travel to the highest peak,
in which ever land.
Do you cares the reamins of the day,
the embers of the fallen time,
or do you turn to misty moments,
that speak in undiscovered rhyme?
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
It befouls my senses to think of it, and to face the reality that in even civilized countries, there is a vast subterranean culture which differs from the great waves of totalitarian evil, only in that it does not have the courage to act on it much of the time. But then, that is probably the nature of that kind of evil, it takes the diseases of the spirit that are always present, and weakens society, until they explode the way opportunistic infections explode.
This week there was an election in the American state of Massachusetts. The two contending candidates were Martha Coakley of the Democratic Party, and Scott Brown, who is a Republican. The deciding factor was Coakley's embracing of ideas dictated to her late in the campaign, and the rise of "the Tea Party," which is an anti-tax anti-big government anti-deficit whites first movement run by people who work for the US Defense Department or it's private contractors and subsist on borrowed money from China.
Or to say it another way, they are hypocrites.
What was obvious to me in Boston on the evening after Scott Brown won, was not what other people are concerned about. I know that this election has implications for politics, and that wise minds than mine are staring deep into the futures that spin off from this moment. But that is the work of other hands and brains, because as I keep finding out, I am not very good at it.
What instead struck me was how Coakley was "to blame," for what happened. There is a story here, a narrative as my theory classes would have us say, and that narrative is deeply rooted in the consciousness of being a woman. I am going to go back to Simon De Beauvoir, who may not have seen all of these issues first, but whose book is a touchstone for me in seeing and expressing them.
One important reality is the transition from childhood to adolescence. A man's body goes through pain, but it becomes more powerful, more capable. A woman's body spins out of her control. She becomes wrapped in long surges of hormones and drives intended to make her give up her body to reproduce. Men too are chained to their drives, but they are very different in effect and result. The body shifts, subtly for some, or rapidly for others. One of my friends went from flat chested to quite busty, C Cup and the D cup, in a bit over a year. Hips widen, gravity pulls at us, we can no longer leap as we once did, or throw as well.
This means that rooted in the body is a very different story, personal story, of control. Girls are expected to be more in control of their body than boys are in a disciplined way for social purposes from a young age. We are expected to hold ourselves, walk in controlled ways and be "lady like." This is before we have reached five. My brother we his bed until 6. I would not have survived my mother's disapproval had I made it to half that age in diapers.
This means that the lose of control that comes with adolescence has different meanings to the genders. It is easy for each gender to see the advantages that the other has. Women, in general, mature more quickly, and homogenously than men. Men, as I noted, mature to being more powerful and more in control. For men the narrative of puberty seems, from the other side, to be a fulfillment. Nancy Friday commented that a man's body is a better version of a boy's body, but a woman's body often feels like a betrayal.
The lose of control is marked most powerfully by an event both longed for and dreaded, both powerful and dreadful. Namely, that somewhat monthly visit from menstruation. It is the trauma of controlling of bodily functions form childhood raised to a higher plane. Every lesson of not niceness and fear of being seen as dirty is magnified. It is possible, I think probable, to draw the lesson from evolution that women, as the bearers of children and caregivers, have a horror of infection that is burned into our genes. While I am not the best of housekeepers, I feel it weighing on me as guilt. An anthropologist in our school draws the parallel that if men are hunters, and women gatherers, then the people who are near the most stable camp must, by need, have evolved a very unprimate horror of dirt. Primates, generally excrete and leave. But to have home fires, is to mean that you must not merely learn, but evolve, not to "shit were you eat."
So genes, society, and personal sense collide, to make control of the body a very large issue, because failure to control the body in the long term is danger, and that is crowned by pregnancy.
Men too have control issues, but they are of a different kind and a different scale. Men are about a compression of control in time. They run, jump, spin, in dance, and athletics. Men achieve by control, women conceive. (ie ei ie ei... sigh the strangeness of my second mother tongue...)
What does this mean about the campaign?
The narrative of women is control of our bodies in that glacial sense of time, and for fear of isolation and disruption at the will of others. The fear of men, is the fear of falling magnified. And that narrative was on display in the campaign...
For the, mostly male, people farther up in Washington DC, this election was about, is about, will always be about, their accomplishment. And they gave her a script to follow, that of fear of Bush, and voting for health care reform. The problem with this script is that it is not a woman's script of why she should vote for someone else, and make no mistake, the core of Coakley's most loyal support saw this office as the natural culmination of her service. Older women stayed loyal, but at the party, there were few younger women visible. It is not that the young deserted her for Brown, but we weren't there.
The problem with the DC narrative was that it was an old person's idea of why young people should vote against Brown, and a man's script for what motivates women. Fear of Bush, and an offer of vague improvement in health care, which is, really, fear again.
For Coakley, I saw, that the awkwardness of this script burned through her. It was not a story she wanted to tell, and to be pushed back at the moment of potential elevation to the Senate, was destructive to her ability to control, again. Politics is about control, of the face, voice and words. Robbed of control, she was robbed of every aspect of her personality. She is a prosecutor, a prosecutor prosecutes by controlling the narrative, controlling the story before the jury, and pushing them inevitably down a line, when they cannot even visualize events happening any other way. Coakley, the cool woman slipped in support, but Coakley, the Eliza Doolittle to Obama and others, was a puppet that could only jerk awkwardly. Coakley became prosecuted by anarrative that she did not write, the narrative of a Democratic Party that wanted a health care bill written by the right wing of the Democratic Party.
I think it is wrong to over determine gender, men play women, women play men. Bart Simpson, who has been with me almost all my life as a shadow in the media, that most quintessentially boyish of characters, is voiced by a woman, actress Nancy Cartwright, who has now been bart for virtually her entire working life. This means that these scritps and narratives become important precisely at the ripping point. The reality is that the men of the DNC could not get the women who work for them, to come up with a script that was a man's version of a woman's fears.
After the loss, the control story flipped. Men made the decisions, and imposed them, but it is the woman who was immediately accused of bearing the blame. How this is so, after those same men have presided over a series of political defeats, is only possible if you see through the glasses of men in control. For them, they made the right decisions, almost no man sees his decisions as wrong at first, that means that if there was failure, it was the fault of the underlings, most particularly the woman, for failing. It's never a man's fault in his own mind that his girlfriend gets pregnant.
For Coakley's supporters, the narrative is different. Coakley was loyal, and was put out because of it. The sense in the campaign is that their "competence" was attacked by males who blamed her for their failings, and the failings that were the result of other forces. But for other women the blame falls squarely on Coakley. Defeat is an infection, not merely that she ran the wrong campaign, but that she was bad intrinsicly. Not merely guilt, but shame, bodily shame in supporting someone who was unfit. That's women asking whether Emily's List was to blame for Coakley's losing the general election, and therefore for "health care's loss."
But to accept that narrative one has to accept that Coakley lost for her support of rights that are seen as women's issues, or that she was to feminine. I don't know of any evidence, even anecdotal evidence that says this. To accept this narrative ne has to believe that even more control should be given over to men. There is excellent evidence that this is the case. And who declared that the present Health Care Reform is progress? It is worse than what already exists in Massachusetts. Worse. To accept the narrative that "health care" is defeated is to assume that only those good things that men provide, women can have. The narrative that Emily's List and other women's organizations caused the defeat is part of the "blame the caution" narrative.
But this narrative, as one of my politically astute friends points out, is wrong. While Coakley lost some support when she was not campaigning, almost all of Scott Brown's gains came after the Caokley campaign actively began promoting the attack ads on Brown, and embracing health care as the Senate has written it. This is the man in control narrative, that failure is her fault for not carrying out the man's decisions well enough.
This goes back to the heart of the control issue, and the difference in control narratives. Since Coakley was assigned the task that required time, her failure to pursue a campaign vigorously was the "failure." But if that is so, then how much larger a failure to allow Health Care Reform to drift long enough to come to the point where a special election could alter its path so violently?
In society, the issue of abortion, which is a dagger through the health care debate, is much the same way. Men, largely, run the control of the economic system, yet it is women, often young, scared, poor, alone women, who must take responsibility for each child that enters, or sometimes does not enter, the world. it is those women who "fail" as mothers if the child cannot be afforded, or does not grow up well. Control is about not only who makes the decisions, but how the blame is meted out for them
I cannot help but feel that no good can come out of this event, where a woman was left to twist and turn on the puppet strings of more powerful people. It is a story, or an event in many stories. But one story that is forward is how women are stripped of control of their bodies and lives, and then blamed for the results, in the most humiliating and painful ways imaginable.
So I'm sorry Martha, that we weren't really there for you, but I encountered, often, how many men looked at your campaign and told me that they weren't doing anything for Obama. I tried to tell them that Obama wasn't running for the Senate, and they retorted that I wasn't paying attention. I lived in enough of a bubble of denial not to see this, until a painful and tearful conversation of two older women, lesbians and long time democratic activists ended with, "So why do they hate us?"
They didn't mean the tea baggers.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
[2010/01/19 20:33] Morgan Lavarock: you need to get a life. i saw your blog and a post where you were on a egypt site and "claim" a guy was harrassing you he did not ask for sex he was polite and when you said no he stopped bothering you. maybe if you spent less time wasting time with that and more time ...oh having a life. you woudnt run into trouble.
[2010/01/19 20:33] Morgan Lavarock: and by the way no one can actually be "raped" in second life
[2010/01/19 20:33] Morgan Lavarock: unless its role play
[2010/01/19 20:33] Morgan Lavarock: you can tp out
[2010/01/19 20:33] Morgan Lavarock: or log out or .. run away
[2010/01/19 20:33] Morgan Lavarock: so if anyone says they were :raped" on second life without permission . thats just crazy.
[2010/01/19 20:34] Morgan Lavarock: anyways im sure you'll report me for sayin that. go right ahead. i need a new aavie anyways.
[2010/01/19 20:34] Morgan Lavarock: i wonder if anyone actually ever reads your blog
[2010/01/19 20:34] Morgan Lavarock: i notice your reicent posts have no comments
[2010/01/19 20:35] Morgan Lavarock: bye now
[2010/01/19 20:36] Morgan Lavarock: maybe if you were a christian fantatic your blogs woud make since
[2010/01/19 20:36] Morgan Lavarock: but your an escort?
[2010/01/19 20:36] Morgan Lavarock: and you reported a guy for iming you when your an escort/ wow how two faced
[2010/01/19 20:36] Morgan Lavarock: get a life.
-- Instant message logging enabled --
[9:17] Morgan Lavarock: (Saved Tue Jan 19 20:37:24 2010) you talk about degrading women . how is escroting not degrading women? laughs.
[9:17] Morgan Lavarock: (Saved Tue Jan 19 20:37:37 2010) oh thats right log off nothing to say? we supposed to listen to your whineing and yet you have nothing to say?
[9:17] Morgan Lavarock: (Saved Tue Jan 19 20:37:38 2010) wow.
[9:17] Morgan Lavarock: (Saved Tue Jan 19 20:37:39 2010) yeah
[9:17] Morgan Lavarock: (Saved Tue Jan 19 20:37:49 2010) ok fuck u hoe.l no one gives a shit about yoru stupid blogs
[9:17] Morgan Lavarock: (Saved Tue Jan 19 20:37:50 2010) byeeee