(sometimes withershins, widershins or widderschynnes) means to take a course opposite that of the sun, going counterclock-wise, lefthandwise, or to circle an object, by always keeping it on the left. It also means "in a direction opposite to the usual," which is how I choose to take it in using it as the title of this blog. We're all in the same world finding our own way.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

White men being violent assholes

or why I'll always pick a shitty, campy queer film over a critically-acclaimed American television drama

Look, I'm not going to hold it against you for liking things like Breaking Bad or True Detective or what have you crime drama on FX or HBO. There are lots of them and many of them are amazingly done with great storylines, beautiful cinematography, superb acting, and probably unnecessary amounts of misogyny (implicit or otherwise).

But most of them can be boiled down to one simple, five-word description: white men being violent assholes.

And I have absolutely no interest in that. It's partly the whole realistic crime drama thing, I don't care to indulge in the Great American Pastime of glorified Cops and Robbers (now in HD). But it's also definitely the violent white assholes. If you put it on for me, I'll get on my computer and pay little enough attention that I couldn't tell you more than what happened a minute ago.

It's a violent kind of apathy,  the kind where I'm sure if you had a camera pointed at me you could watch my eyes glaze over into a blank haze of disinterest. Even talking about it now, I'm struggling to express exactly how much I don't care because that means I have to fake caring enough to express it, but for you, I'll power through.

It's not just the violence, I've watched films like Lars von Trier's Antichrist and found the gritty, gore perfectly acceptable. The film wouldn't have worked without it. I was a fan of MTV's Teen Wolf until the writer's decided to kill of Allison's character when the actress decided she didn't want to continue working on a show that wasn't fully utilizing her talents (at least that's how I understand it).

It's not the white men or them being assholes, the majority of our media is saturated with that (because we Americans are kind of assholes, just look at our news). I love Australian Josh Thomas's brainchild Please Like Me which is mostly about white men being assholes (but in a funny Australian way as they try to figure themselves out) with the occasional racist characterization of one of the characters.  I've laughed at almost two seasons worth of The League, which is a comedy about "friends" in a fantasy football league together rife with sexist, racist, homophobic, etc language being horrible to each other in the name of competition.

Perhaps what I don't like is the way these violent white assholes are glorified. They're the protagonists and while by no means is it ever implied that we're supposed to emulate them (infiltrate underground crime rings or start meth labs, etc), they often end up living very sad, broken lives, but in allowing ourselves to be caught up in the viewing we identify with them. We are caught in the whirlpooling spiral that is their tragedy; it's not glorification in the sense that there is glory, but an elevation of focus.

I'm not about that.

So why shitty, campy queer films? There's very little (if any) cinematic merit to most of them and the acting is horrible at best, but my Netflix history is littered with them (usually marked with one or two stars), and to be honest, I don't really watch them either, it's more that choose to put them on in the background while I do other things.

You could make the argument that I myself am a shitty, campy queer, which wouldn't be too far off the mark. We so often like to allow ourselves to play into that narcissistic tendency of staring at ourselves after all. But I'm not a fantasy footballer (I've lived near Seattle all my life and still couldn't pick Russell Wilson out of a lineup) or Australian or a werewolf. I don't tune out when my roommate puts on Fringe or when my boyfriend puts on sports anime.

So if it's not the violence or the whiteness or men or the assholes, then my only conclusion is that it's something about the combination of all of these in the context of an American drama that bores me. That no matter how "good" it is, you'll never get me to watch it.

And I guess all I have to say to that is feel free to invite me to your next tv marathon, but don't be surprised if I wander off to the kitchen to make snacks.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Fall Update

It's been a while since I've updated this blog. My shorter-term attentions have turned elsewhere and I seem to have accumulated projects.

Still, I can't quite bring myself to drop this blog. There's quite the archive of my thought explorations and identity formation (even a handy explanation of acelessthan3 if people need the refresher). I walk a widdershins path. It's part of being queer, so there will always be a space for more widdershin writings.

That was corny, but no apologies and no regrets.

So here's what I've been doing while I've been mostly ignoring this blog:

I've been getting involved with the local poetry scene. I go to the weekly meetings of Bellingham poetrynight. I'm in process of self-publishing a small booklet of poetry. I'm investing more time in reading and writing poetry than I am the kind of theory that has frequently made appearances on this blog.

I've actually started work on volume two of the Prostate Poems, as well as a second book(let) I'm going to call "Terra-ble: The Organic Grocer Haiku and other poems" which will (surprise) prominently feature the Organic Grocer Haiku, which are about what they sound like: haiku written for and inspired by my work at an organic and natural foods store.

I'm growing my hair out for Sakura-Con 2015. I have never taken so many pills daily in my life. It makes for expensive piss, but I can tell already my hair is growing faster than normal. Though that may also be related to working at an organic grocery store and eating better, but this is not the place to examine that particular cause and effect.

I want to write more letters. I've always been fond of the idea of having pen pals and have had many over the years (perhaps I should restart the Postcard Poems as another project. And just what is it with me and P-alliterative projects?). I'm told I write like a british novel character but use trite and accurate phrases like "fuck off to the east coast" which I'm still not entirely sure what that means, but I'll take it. Cursive cursive cursive. It takes a few stamps to get a few envelopes, though, so perhaps I'll just start writing and see what responses come my way.

As we enter fall, I find myself faced with the idea of applying to grad school. On the one hand, if I want to do anything relating to physical therapy, it's required. But on the other, that's several thousand more dollars of potential debt and at least two more years of school when I just finished my undergrad. There's many things I'm willing to commit to, but at this point in my life I'm not sure if that is one of them.

So I'm creating. I'm still growing and learning and if people have suggestions of things I should look into, please, throw them my way. Or gently toss them. Or send me a polite rude message.