If you’re here because you saw my talk on constructive criticism at work at GOTO Chicago yesterday, welcome! I really enjoyed meeting so many of you and I’m interested to adapt the talk to make it more applicable. Thank you for letting the weird art kid come play in your sandbox. Edited to Add: My slides and video should be available through the conference site soon, but you can also access a pdf here if you like: PeepasGOTOMay1 [/Edit]
I’m going to be thinking about Erin Horáková’s essay about the collective retconning of Captain Kirk for a while. Disclaimer: I am a mere Padawan learner in the lore of Trek, so your comments about the details of the episodes and the character might go over my head. Things I really love:
- Her portrait of Kirk as quite a lovely, thoughtful, dutiful person (vs. the “Chest Manbeast:Ultimate Rebel” he’s become a shorthand for) made me want to go back and watch.
- The idea that the Boring Guy You Meet At Bad Parties is part of “a vast eldritch horror sitting in another dimension that extrudes its thousand tentacles into our own, and that each one of This Guy is merely an insignificant manifestation of the beast: they couldn’t all be so boring in precisely the same way by chance, surely.”
- The discussion of Dickens and Helen Keller and Norman Rockwell and the way stories get updated and remanufactured to erase their radical roots and ideas. We love a truth-teller and a rebel and a hero, as long as their radical acts are safely in the past and can have the edges sanded off for the “nation-building, heritage-canonising costume drama adaptations.“
- This sentence: “Robinson Crusoe is a dull, badly-written, racist pile of shit (and it’s “the first novel” like I’m Romy and it’s my high school reunion and I invented the post-it note).” I don’t know you, Erin Horáková, but I think I like you.
- And finally, this:
“Thus it becomes a matter of reclaiming texts via attentive reading. In the post-truth world, attention is a skill. Reading is a skill. We must vigilantly listen to the hum of the currents of power running through texts and their interpretations, to actions and their spin. We must insist upon reality in order to meaningfully and morally do the work of relativistic interpretation: there are four lights, for fuck’s sake. We do have to have stories, and so we need to be able to see them. It’s important both to add marginal voices to canons and conversations and to protect the marginal elements already there from conservative erosion, for the sake of accuracy, artistic quality, and politics. We need to have access to their resources and to be able to use our own, not to host within ourselves an enemy that occludes all we see, that drains the progressive potential of everything we have access to. What good things we have done ought to be preserved. There are histories of resistance, large and small, that we ought not to lose; that we cannot afford to lose.”
I also need to write something about that essay where dudes keep recommending David Foster Wallace to women and then women who post the link get their mentions full of dudes recommending David Foster Wallace, but it’s still percolating. Don’t @me and please definitely don’t tell me your favorite DFW work.
To close out, I wrote this out for a writer friend on Facebook and I think it’s a pretty good list so I’ll share it here. He asked for visible signs/clues/hints that someone is cheating on their partner – maybe things we’ve seen on TV, maybe things from personal experience. Here was my list:
2) The person is always on their phone, smiling down at it, like they are in their own secret world that doesn’t include you. I realize we’re all on our phones these days but there is a telltale constant back-and-forth pinging and smiling and laughing at stuff and when you ask or, especially, when you don’t ask they say, “Don’t worry, it’s nothing” or “Oh, it’s just Mentionitis-Person From Work.”
3) They become suddenly very protective of their phone, taking it with them everywhere and (this is key) become weird and paranoid about you touching it or seeing it. I do not go through my spouse’s phone, nor he through mine, and I would be wary if a partner thought they could read all my communications because it’s a scary sign of controlling behavior. However, if he’s driving and gets a call or a text he might hand his phone to me so I can tell him who it is, or so I can navigate where we’re going or fish an address out of his email. Cheaters I Have Known would probably dive across traffic to keep me from ever touching their phone. If it rings while they are in the bathroom they will yell “I got it!” even though you had no intention of picking it up or even looking at it – I have seen a dude come out of the bathroom with his pants down, clearly about to poop or maybe even in the middle of pooping, to grab his phone from another room and take it back into the bathroom with him
4) They over-explain stuff and work too hard at coming up with alibis for where they are going.
Non-Cheating Partner: “I’m having drinks with X tonight, see you later!”
Cheating Partner: Long Involved Story Timestamped Story About Every Logistical Errand And Move They Are Planning To Make. Why so many details about really needing to buy drain cleaner right now?
Also, in my experience, they manufacture lots of little errands is a way to bring their phone along and talk/text to the person.
5) The relationship has sucked lately but improves in the short-term b/c the person either feels guilty and wants to be nice or the presence of the other person takes the pressure off somehow.
Two I wish I’d clocked but other people in the thread were on it:
6) A newly-observed pattern of coming home from work or being out and about and *immediately* taking a shower. Like, they used to come in and give you a hug and a kiss and chill out for a second or sort through the day’s mail, but now it’s straight to the bathroom, and they seem to avoid touching you or coming near you or interacting with you until after the shower? Huh. That’s strange.
7) Accusing you of cheating (classic projection!)
Any one of these by itself, or absent a pattern, is not a smoking gun, but many of them together plus that icky feeling in the pit of your stomach that something is off? Worth digging into, in my opinion.
This has been me using my blog as a pensieve. Hope you’re all well.