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emmy [AT] curious-notions {dot} net
June 2020
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of great social and political import

I was totally going to post this yesterday and do a sad little Music Monday. I failed. If someone wants to know what I’m listening to: Mercedes Benz by Janis Joplin. (That’s a Grooveshark link. Youtube link is here.) It’s an old song that I’m listening to because of a conversation that happened as a result of the Superbowl Ad (Super Bowl?). I adore scratchy voices so I’m not even caring what she’s singing, I’m just loving the sound of her voice.

I also love that she’s a woman. That sounds weird. Lemme ‘splain. I listen to a lot of men in music and lately I’ve been noticing how much of our world view, our societal point of view is created by men. So I’ve been trying to consciously pick female points of view. Which has been interesting.

I think a lot about women in society and how most bigotry is systemic. I spend a lot of time reading meta type blogs. I read a lot of blogs by some very perceptive people who are really good at noticing systemic bigotry. I’m not, so it makes me grateful for the blogs that these people write. Because I’m good at finding myself uneasy, but not noticing or understanding why, but these people are.

But in consciously picking my world view influences, I’m noticing something. The male point of view is comfortable. Male voices and turns of phrase and perspectives are all more normative. Female voices and turns of phrase and perspectives feel different. I can’t tell if this difference is purely because as a society everything IS from the male perspective or if it’s a personal issue. Maybe it’s because I AM female. I’d love to try this experiment out on a guy. Pick books, movies, music and articles produced by women and see if the world feels a bit more uncomfortable to them or if it feels more comfortable.

There was (yet another) article from some online magazine/journal/newspaper about how romance novels are pretty shitty and shouldn’t be used as any kind of real life …standard. Plenty of people jumped all over the article, especially because the author of said article admitted IN the article to not reading romance novels. My favorite kinds of snobs are those that are snobbish over things they’ve never experienced. So someone posed a question after reading the article; If you assume that romance novels really are just women’s fantasies, why are men’s fantasies on Super Bowl commercials while women’s fantasies are considered something to be dismissed/talked down/laughed off? We don’t take things that women like or think about seriously. We don’t let women’s fantasies have the same legitimacy as men’s.

What if we can’t even recognize what it would look like if female fantasies WERE considered normative and were on Super Bowl commercials? What if part of the discomfort I feel is because the women produced media is being produced by women in a male tinted culture? I dunno. I’m not even sure how much longer I can keep up my experiment. There’s not enough stuff produced by women, even if it’s meant for men.

(Linda, the title of the post is from the song Mercedes Benz by Janis Joplin. It cracks me up. It’s not meant to be a commentary on the content of the post. AT ALL.)

(ETA: If you didn’t get what I  meant about women in a male tinted world, to wit: http://www.smartbitchestrashybooks.com/index.php/weblog/comments/nora-roberts-rwa-readers-reading-and-jezebel-so-many-links/#139724 Specifically “a teacher at his school came up to him and asked if he was the kid whose mother wrote “trashy romance novels.” I think my mouth dropped open. I asked him what he said. He looked at me and said, “I told her no. You write Superromances.” LOL. So, suck it, random teacher implying I write crap…to my kid.” Jeepers people.)

Take this!

Hi, my name is Emmy and I have a tab problem. I have more of a tab problem than I do an email problem. I try very hard to manage my tab problem and every once in a while I manage to defeat it. I will actually CLOSE my browser with no open tabs. I know I am not the only person with this problem. At work my tab problem tends to be complicated by the two areas of interest (my research reading and my fun reading) instead of just the fun reading at home. In the interest of clearing some of my tabs, I’m going to …oops. I’m not sure about the creative whatevers. I was going to post images. Now I’m just linking.

The first came to me via Linda. It’s the merge of a lighting storm and a volcano. Go look. I’ve had this open for AGES.

The second image I found when I looking for pictures for the feet post. I could post this picture because I can source weheartit, but now I’ve got a whole list of links. Something about these feet is very tough and lean and experienced and I love looking at the photo. (Anyone who thinks I have feet issues would be correct. I have been concerned about my feet since I was very very little. It used to drive my mother and grandmother insane.)

The third is an image that an artist created when he was inspired by a book he read. The book is The Name of the Wind and I found the image because I read the author’s (the book author not the image author) blog. It’s staggeringly gorgeous.

The fourth image came through my rss reader. This is a freaking ADORABLE kid. It’s a fashion blog, so I’m sure the cute clothes were meant to be the focus, but jeepers. The cute little sweater! The little cautious grin! The KNEES! The sweat/water slicked hair! GAHHHHH.

Now these things are documented and I can close 4 tabs. Hopefully someone enjoyed. If not, thanks for assisting me in making that small step forward with my problem. It’s a disease really.

(Brain, the title is a reference to Zelda, “It’s dangerous to go alone! Take this!” and there’s an internet geek image macro where you put the image of something and subtitle it with the quote.)

Do you really think that love is gonna save the world?

Sometimes my mom sparks deep thoughts in me. Often it’s because she has such a completely different view of the world. She even has such a completely different way of thinking. It’s not even generational. It’s just DIFFERENT. Most of my family members even think she has a different outlook on the world, but that’s going completely off topic.

I do know that for a long time, I’ve had the opinion that the golden rule (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”) is mostly indulgent bullshit. That’s a strong statement, but I’m not overstating my feelings.

Let me give you a really really simplistic example. My mom absolutely loves skin scratching. If you idly scratch her scalp or her arm, she just thinks that’s a lovely touch. I cannot ABIDE someone scratching my skin unless I’ve got an absolutely mind melting mosquito bite on my back and desperately need your assistance and even then ONLY if I ask. Despite my distaste for nails touching my skin, my mom often softly scratches me with her nails because she loves it. It’s not meant meanly. It’s not done out of carelessness. It’s just done because it’s something she loves and so when she’s not paying strict attention to who she’s with, she just does it. The same way my dad’s mom loves to pat our hands when we sit next to her.

The golden rule is most often meant to be applied in a high minded way. Be “kind” because you would like others to be “kind” to you. How does kindness feel to you? Does it feel the same way to others? My bestest friend in the whole world hates when people tell her what to do. I grew up in an opinionated family where we all were very “mean” to each other. I used to just tell Linda when she was “wrong” not realizing how incredibly badly she took it and how shut down she felt when I spoke like that. I now try very hard to listen and then offer opinions only when asked. It would undermine her understanding of my love for her if I still consistently trampled all over her boundaries like that. I, personally, think she believes I love her more now than she used to. My respect for what she wants and needs out of life are the biggest part of it. She might feel differently, but I think I love her better now. Not more, but definitely better.

My grandmother often said things that she doesn’t think are in any way offensive that would offend even the least PC people I’ve ever met. She doesn’t think that calling someone mulato is offensive, so in her mind, it never occurs to her to think they might. Often they shove away any offense because, hell, she’s an old woman. It doesn’t mean it doesn’t offend them. (I’m picking the only example I bring myself to publicly share.)

I think in a world that is increasingly mixing cultures and languages and modes of thinking and religions, the golden rule is probably a terrible one to follow. I remember years ago having a discussion with Linda about how not being racist wasn’t enough. Some of that is what I’ve heard called white guilt. Some of that was my poorly stated feeling that just avoiding certain words or behaviors isn’t really enough.

Over the years, something that has crystallized in my head is that the best thing in the world to do is ask someone what they would like or what they need or how they do something before giving or doing something. Often you’ll do it how you like it, and projecting how I would like to be treated onto others has consistently not worked for me. Maybe it’s just me though. I try not hard not to assume anymore.

My final thought: Even if these examples seem to you like they should be obvious things that everyone should know. You wouldn’t want people to touch you in ways you don’t like, even for innocent touches. You wouldn’t want people to tell you what to do. You wouldn’t call someone mulato. Understand that there is SOMETHING you do that you like but that plenty of other people would hate. There is something that you hate that others love. Find just one example that applies to you. Just one.

For Linda, the rest of the quote is “I really really hope so. I don’t think so.” It’s from The Cardigans.

straight into my brain, goddamn, did you mean to do that to me

I was walking to get something to eat and this kid that I spent hours talking to yesterday walked right past me without seeing me. I smiled to myself.

It reminded me of talking to Gilligan yesterday. We were talking about how you can rec someone a book or link them to a song and then later they come back to you all excited about whatever it was you told them they’d enjoy. You say something like “You finally got a chance to check it out?” Then they look at you blankly and tell you their best friend just gave it to them. Gilligan did that to me. I had to go into gchat history to pull out where I REALLY DID GIVE HER THAT SONG MONTHS before her SO did.

Sometimes it has nothing to do with you. I remember when I first figured out that telling someone I was sorry for something didn’t make them feel better AT ALL, just me. That if I wanted THEM to feel better, I just had to make it about them or answer their needs.

I told Gilligan that it’s about having a healthy ego. Maybe its more about just knowing how big your space is and when shit has to do with someone else and isn’t about you at all. It’s just being able to say “Y’all are fucking retarded. I’ll just be over here.”

(Linda, Gilligan, song is In My Teeth by Manchester Orchestra. I would love to think that why I picked it is pretty obvious?)