Seen at Lincoln Center
Anyone know what show this was from? (assuming it was from a show)
Anonymous asked: Men are portrayed pretty poorly in True Detective as well. Apparently we are sociopaths, trailer trash, incapable of telling the truth to anyone (including ourselves), alcoholics, torturers, and people that treat women in the terrible ways you describe in your post. No one comes off particularly well.
Oof I sort of really want to stop talking about True Detective on this blog because I actually don’t care about it as much as my internet activity might make it seem, but I wanted to address this one because I’ve noticed a fundamental misunderstanding of my point in a lot of the pushback I’ve received over my thoughts on its female characters—
My concern is not that women are portrayed “poorly” in the way you describe the men to be portrayed here. It is true that the men on True Detective are not super-great guys. Neither, for that matter, are Tony Soprano, Don Draper, Walter White, [insert endless list of television’s male antiheroes here]. However, all these men (including the protagonists of True Detective) are believable in their complexity. They have careers, goals, philosophies, interests, fears, anxieties, and relationships. They are maybe bad people, but they are recognizably people. The women in True Detective do not fit this bill for me. Helen McClory just hit the nail on the head over on Twitter: “The women are like trampolines for the men. Just something to bounce off of, either as corpse or angry wife or sex object.” They function solely to develop the male characters further, and it is not clear what they think about when the male characters are not interacting with them, if they think at all.
There’s been a refrain, too, of “That’s not what the show is about,” which is true. But truly great writing can find a way to make you believe that even the things the show isn’t “about” exist in the universe of the show. I do not currently believe that women are fully sentient in the universe of True Detective.
Another defense that’s been tossed out is that the show takes place in rural Louisiana in the 1990s (as though the 1990s were some particularly bleak pre-suffrage time), and so it is naive to expect women to be shown as “equal” to men. This, again, is not what I’m asking for. Mad Men is aggressive in its understanding that women are not the legal and social equals of men; it also contains a number of believable female characters; “believable” here again meaning: these women clearly have brains that function as typical human brains function, i.e., they have thoughts.
Anyway, all this is to say: please don’t send me any more anonymous messages about how much you love True Detective. I understand why you love True Detective; I’m into it, too. But you are all very unconvincing in your defense of its writing of female characters and it’s bumming me out.
I am way into True Detective and yet I agree with this excellent post 1000%. It’s such a good show, but the female characters are such puppet/dolls it might have been written in 1953. You’re not Jack Kerouac, there’s no excuse. Really there was no excuse for Kerouac, either.
Day Two Hundred and Eighty Three
Snack Bar, SoCo, South Austin, TX
cut to the chase
When your mind is
when the monkeys are
vine to vine
send a mental postcard
YOU to YOU
I WISH YOU WERE HERE
that will do
and I am
for every moment
Just realized I never post links to my tiny Cabinet of Curiosities stories here, and maybe I should. One thing I love about that project is how it gives me a chance to experiment with techniques I could never sustain in a whole novel—I’ve gotten to use a lot of different narrative voices, in particular. This is a particularly odd one but … well there it is.
oh hello 2013! or maybe I mean goodbye
Periodically over the next year, we’ll be publishing some of the work Sheila Heti and Ted Mineo have done on an adaptation of the I Ching.
The way to read it is: think of a problem in your life (especially an intractable issue, one you cannot solve) then look at the picture and read below…
Hexagram #9: The Small
Dense rainclouds fill the sky, but no rain falls. This is a time of potential being restrained. The best one can do when the rains threaten to fall but do not is to nurture the smallest things—whatever glitters in the soil, whatever expects rain but isn’t being watered. Big things cannot happen now. You have to attend to the smallest sprouts, though you may wish to climb to the tops of trees. One cannot force the rains to come. So spend your energies nurturing the things which still need help.
Display only your best qualities at this time and hide from the world your worst. Refine your environment and settle debts. Familial loyalty is the most prized virtue; display it if you can. Be as gentle, agreeable and pliant as possible. You can only influence people subtly, through gentle penetration, or possibly not at all. You cannot win great victories for your side.
It is an emotionally unsatisfying time; full of stifled expectancy. Heaven’s possibilities can be felt all around you, but heaven cannot be inhabited. The sky remains dark with clouds.
This time has been brought about by the smallest things, which have accumulated and are expressing themselves now. It is because of the small things you have nurtured—in your environment, in yourself, and others—that the clouds are full to bursting. Keep inside your heart your highest goals for yourself and the people around you, while remaining quite silent. Set aside your greatest hopes, gestures, and ambitions for the moment. Such contemplation will only compel you try and force things ahead of their time. To do that would only cause conflict, not real change. Yet keep those visions within sight of your heart.
Make everything smaller. Tend to children, small animals, or to those activities which are like the tending of the smallest sprouts, animals, children. Help other people. Spend your energy on productive refinement, not upheaval.
"I look at it this way: you can run across a log pond—you know, where they’re floating the logs at a sawmill—by stepping on one log at a time. And if you don’t stay on a given log very long, you can go hopping clear across the pond on these logs. But if you stop on one, it’ll sink. Sometimes I feel a writer should be like this—that you need your bad poems. You shouldn’t inhibit yourself. You need to have your dreams; you need to have your poems. If you begin to keep from dreaming or from trying to write your poems, you could be in trouble. You have to learn how to say ‘Welcome … welcome.’ Welcome, dreams. Welcome, poems. And then if somebody says, ‘I don’t like that dream,’ you can say ‘Well, it’s my life. I had to dream it.’ And if somebody else says ‘I don’t like that poem,’ you can say ‘Well, it’s my life. That poem was in the way, so I wrote it.’”
-William Stafford (from an interview with Sanford Pinsker quoted in Stafford’s wonderful Writing the Australian Crawl: Views on the Writer’s Vocation.
There’s going to be a panel at AASL (School Librarian conference) this weekend called “Boys Reading: A focus on fantasy.” There are six well-respected, very cool middle grade fantasy authors on this panel. And they are all men.
And I have to ask: Why? Why can’t female authors discuss their…
YES. Yes to every word of this, yes.