Tuesday, January 23, 2018

The Guilt of the Oppressed

I thought this post of Richard Seymour's was interesting for the less-stressed point he makes about the broader idea of the guilt of the oppressed, which he highlights as important not merely in patriarchal structures but also in capitalist ones.  I'm not sure I fully grasped his psychoanalytic analysis of guilt, but to the extent that I did it seems he may be talking about the ways in which our attempts to move on from the ways that we are oppressed and abused, to put on hold or forget our desire to get revenge for or cope meaningfully with or fully address our pain and suffering, actually lead us to feel guilty, not so much because of what we did, but because of what we can never do in the world as it is.  This is interesting because I have never been abused, but I did have this painful work experience in our capitalist economy last year.  And it is genuinely hard to grapple with questions of whether I was to blame for the ways it went wrong or whether the workplace was, even as obviously the ultimate answer has to be both.  Logically, there are lots of good reasons to assign greater culpability to the workplace, but it is certainly true that in our capitalist economy that doesn't really matter very much, and I had to move on.  Although thankfully now it is less powerful than it is used to be, it's certainly true that a lot of what I was experiencing for the past year was guilt, a very strong guilt that had a major effect on how I lived my life.  I find Richard Seymour's perspective on this, then, to be personally interesting - to provide a new way of looking at my experiences for the past year and to consider the role of capitalism in constructing my guilt.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

_The Good Place_

I have never seen an episode of The Good Place.  But it does turn up almost everywhere - on Crooked Timber, on coffeeandink, in the comedic quotations my best friend sends me on Google Hangouts. . . so everybody except (probably) my family is watching it.  So I have definitely vaguely wanted to watch it, since so many people with interesting tastes are watching it.  But today I discovered Mindy St. Claire.  Coffeeandink randomly mentioned her on her blog, I decided to just look up who the character was, and I read the Wiki entry.  I read the "History" section there and was like, huh, that sounds strangely like Uncle Tom's Cabin.  Then I took another look at the character's name and was like, wait a second.  Then I cracked up.

I cannot believe that someone other than me found the whole Augustine St. Clare thing so amusing that they actually made a joke about it in their television show - and, I mean, not just a brief joke, but an entire character who is a joke about the Augustine St. Clare thing.  That's amazing.  I now much less vaguely want to watch the show.

Oh - after a brief check on Google, I'm not sure that anyone else on the Internet has mentioned this?  I mean, come on, surely someone who actually watches the show at least remembers Uncle Tom's Cabin?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The 80s

I was born in the 80s, and, I mean, early in the 80s, so you might think I would be used to 80s aesthetics.  Nevertheless, I just really don't like them.  I mean, after having watched the Blade Runner sequel, I remarked to multiple people that my main memory of watching the original is just how off-putting I found the actresses' haircuts.

I was just reminded of this again by watching a whole bunch of Bowie videos and performances spanning decades.  I don't always find the aesthetics of Bowie's appearances in the 70s attractive (not a mullet fan), but they are consistently appealingly bizarre.  Conversely, while in the 90s, 2000s, and 2010s Bowie's aesthetics were more normal, they were consistently pretty attractive.  However, the aesthetics of Bowie's 80s appearances were a thoroughly unappealing mix of conventional and unattractive.  Sigh.  The only partial exception is Bowie in the Screaming Lord Byron role in the "Blue Jean" video, but:

  1. this is presumably meant as a parody of Bowie's own 70s personae.
  2. it is literally a Byron reference.
  3. although presumably unintentionally, it reminds me strongly of Torquil.
Certainly I don't find anything else about the aesthetics of the video particularly appealing.

Sometime this year I am intending to watch the "Love Cats" video again, and hopefully that will remind me that there are at least some 80s aesthetics out there that I quite like!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

For the Record

I apparently realized this back in 2015 when reviewing Perilous Seas on Goodreads, but it's a good realization so I thought I ought to post it here for future reference.

A character type I really, really like is the mentor figure who realizes what the protagonist's destiny is going to be and takes it upon themself to facilitate that destiny without bothering to reveal it to the protagonist.  Examples: Lith'Rian, Navis, Citan, Deth. . . yeah, this pretty consistently comes up as a theme in characters I like.  Those who do it maliciously (Doc Scratch) don't count - only those who either like or are trying to get on the good side of the protagonist, but still don't want to bother to tell them what's going to happen, for whatever reason.

Nobody ever gives me book recommendations on this blog, but if you happen to know of any books (or, hey, even TV shows, these days) that feature this character type, do let me know, please?

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

On Books

God is something risky to release.
Lock God in a box
With only a tiny pinprick hole for breath
And it will take only seconds -
Of course, when God chooses -
For the air to be full of God,
You yourself filling your lungs with God,
God throughout you so that you too are God:
For God to assert omnipresence.
God menaces because God matters.
God imposes the will of God.
When you are imbued by God,
When the world becomes God,
God takes precedence -
Nothing else trumps God.
God is dominant -
But God is dominant both around and within you.
You walk surrounded by God,
Seeing and hearing and touching and knowing only God,
While breathing in God, God pulsing in every heartbeat,
Your mind permeated by God,
Each thought: God.
This is why we worship God:
What else can we do when faced with something like this?
Let God out - let God let God out -
And that is it.
There will be nothing else but God.
This, this is why, when I am drowning in God's ocean,
A tumult which overwhelms me, controls me,
And then some looming tsunami lulls the water for a moment,
Lifts my head above the tossing waves of God,
Thrusts it confused and disoriented into the thin air
In a brief instant of respite,
I rush to seal the ocean into confinement,
Keyless, holeless.
How else can I avoid a life of staring
At a shut eyelid larger than the universe
With the constant uncertainty,
Never knowing when the vast eye will open,
And I will once again be immobilized
By the transfixing gaze of the divine eye,
Yet no confidence that this time at last
Will finally be the time it never closes again?

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

I Would Normally Never Post an Advertisement, but. . .

. . .this Audi ad uses the "Are You Being Served" theme song.



At least, even though it said it was from Audi in my current country, TSOR suggests that it is actually a British ad.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I Guess that Explains it

A 12-year-old boy just randomly came up to me and gave a brief and somewhat depressing philosophical discourse which was basically the theme of The Homeward Bounders.  I got kind of excited - like, that's an odd thing for a 12-year-old boy to think of.

Then a couple of minutes later he came back and told me a kind of depressing parable, so I said, "You sound kind of depressed today."

His response?  "Yes, I'm a Christian."