July 1, 2009 at 7:57 pm (Authors, Books, Failure, Life, Love, Pop culture, Processes, Science Fiction and Fantasy, Uncategorized) (, , , , , , )

“Because he knew he was a disappointment to you. And that you wouldn’t get mad or yell at him, and he wanted you to. Because he thought that if you cared about him, you’d ask him if he was seeing someone else. He thought if you really liked him, you’d be jealous, and he knew you weren’t.”

-A White Bear, “Enough Rope

You have a chapter that lists all the things that you can’t do when you’re married. All those things are just about living with a roommate.

That’s partly true. But a lot of them are about changing each other, and preventing your own anxiety about the other person stopping loving you. If they don’t come on time, they’re out having an affair–which you wouldn’t be worried about with a roommate. Or how their behavior reflects on you–if they tell a bad joke in public or have bad table manners. I think there are a lot of ways mates try to reform each other just for control–controlling people comes natural to us.

-Laura Kipnis, interviewed by David Bowman

I think if you take a look at the economic distribution, there should be an entire strike of the workforce tomorrow. So how is it that we live in a culture that is so acquiescent that we believe all the lies told by politicians and these economic programs that benefit the rich? Part of what I’m interested in doing in this book is to show how domesticity is the training ground for complacence–all the endless rules and edicts of love are training to larger forms of passivitiy.

-Kipnis, interviewed by Bowman

Nehring uses models such as Edna St. Vincent Millay, Emily Dickinson, Frida Kahlo, and Margaret Fuller to illustrate how women can be consumed with love and still be creative, intelligent, and productive. In fact, for many of the women profiled in the book, love actually fueled their creativity. Wollstonecraft, who had already tried to kill herself over spurned love, wrote her great Letters Written During a Short Residence in Sweden, Norway and Denmark for a man.

-Jessa Crispin, “Beating Hearts

Kipnis acknowledges that love affairs can feel completely transforming; with this new third party, you can surrender to long-buried feelings; ordinary conversations glisten and gleam. “But what really keeps you glued to the phone till all hours of the night–conversations sparkling with soulfulness and depth you hadn’t know you possessed, exchanging those whispered intimacies–is a very diferent new love-object: yourself. The new beloved mirrors this fascinating new self back to you, and admit it, you’re madly in love with both of them.”

-Stephanie Zacharek reviewing Laura Kipnis

But, good God, that desperate desire to be alone, not because she hates other people but because it’s so complex and impenetrable and anxiety-producing to figure out how to be something other than herself for other people–that’s my childhood, and something I struggle with constantly as an adult. Alone, I’ve always felt held, self-comforting, fine. I crave contact with other people (real friendships, sex, etc.), but I always need to come back to being alone.

I loved the Dork Yearbook pictures because they reminded me of this feeling. Video games, math puzzles, science projects, music, endless reading, hours of daydreaming–it’s all masturbation, right? It’s all finding a way to make being alone more satisfying, more comforting, than being with other people.

-A White Bear, “What’s the Opposite of Nostalgia?


Or Something Like It.

“What frustrates me is that–and it became apparent tonight–is that you do italics adhere to some kind of code of good manners, proper behavior, or the right things to do, and yet you are so emotionally lazy that you are incapable of implementing the only valid reason that any such code ever came about: to put people at ease, to make them feel better, to promote social communion. If you ever achieve that, it’s only to the credit of whoever designed the behavior code a hundred years back. The only way you seem to be able to criticize your own conduct parenthesis at one point I watched the thought march across your face; you aren’t very good at hiding your feelings; and people like that simply cannot afford to count on appearances close parenthesis is that your version of the code was ten years out of date. Which is to so monumentally miss the point I almost wanted to cry.


Maybe because you quote feel you love me unquote you feel I should take you on as a case. I’m not going to. Because there are other people, some of whome I love and some of whom I don’t, who need help too and, when I give it, it seems to accomplish something the results of which I can see. Not to mention things I need help in. In terms of the emotional energies I have, you look hopeless.”

-Samuel R. Delany, Trouble on Triton


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Impossible Adaptation

March 14, 2009 at 10:45 pm (Adaptation, Books, Graphic Novels/Comics, Originality, Pop culture) (, , )

“The question of essences remains at the heart of the adaptive act: how to make a second version of a first thing, of a book or film or poem or vegetable, or of yourself, that is successfully its own, new thing and yet carries with it the essence, the spirit, the soul of the first thing, the thing that you yourself, or your book or poem or film or your pre-pickle mango or lime, originally were.”

Salman Rushdie

“To read the comic is to see the illusion of something actually happening before your eyes; to go back and appreciate the fruit of three twelve-hour days is to—what? Look? Perceive? Read differently? —Whatever it is, it’s definitely a key component of comics, a thing we can do there and take advantage of nowhere else. ‘The most obvious sense,’ says Wolk, ‘in which Watchmen is tethered to comics is the fact that it’s specifically about comics’ form and content and readers’ preconceptions of what happens in a comic book story. Beneath that surface, though, it relies on being a comic book for its crucial sense of time and chronology.'”

Kip Manley

“[N]ow I want to focus on Snyder.   I’m less concerned with his film than its conceit: that through slavish imitation Moore and Gibbon’s novel can transition from page to screen. The central concern in Watchmen is with the experience of reading comic books.  The scene of reading is of obvious import: the youth reading Tales of the Black Freighter reminds the reader that the thing in their hands was shaped by an escapist tradition.”

Scott Eric Kaufmann

“And so my problems with the film can be reduced to two major differences it has with the book: the characterization of Adrian Veidt/Ozymandias, and the ending, because between the two of those, it meant that not only did the film have no plot, it didn’t understand the question it was meant to investigate.”


“Why is this significant?  Because it demonstrates that Snyder never grappled with his source material in formal or structural terms.  The narrative techniques that contributed to his own sense of the book’s significance went unrecognized; in their place is the kind of fanboy literalism that compels people to write open letters to Peter Jackson accusing him of assaulting Tolkien.”

Kaufman, again. (Tolkien link included in original.)
(see “How to teach comics responsibly in a composition class” for an example of the techniques used in Watchmen.)

“But I wouldn’t be surprised if the same problem crops up over and over—Moore writes plots that don’t make sense unless you don’t shy away from the radical political implications, and who has the guts to do that inside the major studio system?”

Amanda Marcotte

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