“And I get that Fox opposes a Syria peace plan because its modus operandi is to foment dissent in the form of a relentless and irrational contrarianism to Barack Obama and all things Democratic to advance its ultimate objective of creating a deliberately misinformed body politic whose fear, anger, mistrust and discontent is the manna upon which it sustains its parasitic succubus-like existence.”—John Stewart, The Daily Show
“Using a computer would have cheated me out of the feeling of accomplishment that I obtained, because l’ve found that often in life the journey itself can be more gratifying than arriving at the final destination. Mountains are not climbed nor marathons run merely to reach a geographical location — there are much easier ways to accomplish these feats — but as personal and spiritual challenges to the participants. When confronted with a puzzle or problem, we sometimes can lose sight of the fact that we have issued a challenge to ourselves–not to our tools. And before we automatically reach for our computers, we sometimes need to remember that we already possess the most essential and powerful problem-solving tool within our own minds.”—CIA analyst David Stein - CIA Releases Analyst’s Fascinating Tale of Cracking the Kryptos Sculpture | Threat Level | Wired.com
“You might say, “I hate Lou Reed,” but you couldn’t say, “I hate Lou Reed and I hate all his music.” If you did, it only meant you had terrible taste in everything. This is why Reed’s life was such a profound, unparalleled success: He proved that the only thing that truly mattered about an artist was the art.”—
Lou Reed perhaps proved that being a significant artist could overcome being a jerk, but let’s not get silly.
Being an artist does not forgive Crime. Really, being an artist doesn’t forgive being an asshole. Lou Reed was notoriously prickly In The Media. That is only a crime To The Media. What kind of person you are Matters, in the same way that Steve Jobs, whatever his legacy may ultimately be, did a disservice to that legacy by being such an unbelievable asshole to those around him.
More importantly, he had to live through that live as an asshole. Maybe this is the nerd So Sure the jock’s future is riddled with pain, but I can’t help but think that treating people poorly So Often takes a toll, tarnishes whatever successes one has. Or maybe being a true asshole means they never really notice.
But the idea that Art is all that matters? That the artistic ends justify the emotional means? I’ll always call bullshit on such a thought. It’s the kind of idea Assholes & Jerks are really into. They write that one into the margins of their dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged and smile to themselves.
If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Domingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity. And because you grow up with this, it’s this huge surprise when you go to college and realize that, “Oh, women aren’t people who does my shit and fucks me.”
And I think that this a huge challenge for boys, because they want to pretend they can write girls. Every time I’m teaching boys to write, I read their women to them, and I’m like, “Yo, you think this is good writing?” These motherfuckers attack each other over cliche lines but they won’t attack each other over these toxic representations of women that they have inherited… their sexist shorthand, they think that is observation. They think that their sexist distortions are insight. And if you’re in a writing program and you say to a guy that their characters are sexist, this guy, it’s like you said they fucking love Hitler. They will fight tooth and nail because they want to preserve this really vicious sexism in the art because that is what they have been taught.
And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherfuckers.” So women come with it built in because of the society.
It’s the same way when people write about race. If you didn’t grow up being a subaltern person in the United States, you might need help writing about race. Motherfuckers are like ‘I got a black boy friend,’ and their shit sounds like Klan Fiction 101.
The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not pass down in political practice, they’re pass down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons. And if you want to be a good artist, it means writing, really, about the world. And when you write cliches, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, that is a fucking cliche. And motherfuckers will kill you for their cliches about x, but they want their cliches about their race, class, queerness. They want it in there because they feel lost without it. So for me, this has always been the great challenge.
As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track. They tell you, “You know what? You’re a bit of a fucking homophobe.” You can’t write about the world with these simplistic distortions. They are cliches. People know art, always, because they are uncomfortable. Art discomforts. The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real. And sexism is a way to avoid the real, avoiding the reality of women. Homophobia is to avoid the real, the reality of queerness. All these things are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that.
Junot Diaz speaking at Word Up Bookshop, 2012 (via clambistro)
These are the Things I’m trying to be Aware of as I write my Novel. Although as a Poor Plus Sized Queer Fem Black Male with a Disability status that was raised in Two Different Countries, I think I’m a little ahead of the game.
“I never decide if an idea is good or bad until I try it. So much of what gets in the way of things being good is thinking that we know. And the more that we can remove any baggage we’re carrying with us, and just be in the moment, use our ears, and pay attention to what’s happening, and just listen to the inner voice that directs us, the better. But it’s not the voice in your head. It’s a different voice. It’s not intellect. It’s not a brain function. It’s a body function, like running from a tiger.”—Rick Rubin on Crashing Kanye’s Album in 15 Days - The Daily Beast
“It is and remains my contention that the true lover of the medium is not the sycophantic fan who adores the good and the bad with equal fervor, but the discriminating, hard-nosed reader who refuses to tolerate the mediocre and the banal. If someone sets particularly high standards for a medium, it is a token not of contempt, but of deep and abiding respect for its potential. When these high standards result in the dismissal of most of the work produced in the medium, it takes a perverse logic to infer from this contempt for the general output a contempt for the medium itself.”—Kim Thompson. The man spoke the truth. (via infectedworldmind)