Archive for the ‘literature’ Category

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See You Later

March 11, 2007

I’m taking a break from Supervixens and from blog commentary for a while in order to focus on my other creative work. I have two big projects to finish and one to get rolling on, and time’s getting short.  When they’re ready for public consumption, I’ll be sure to let you know!

Until then, I’m still accessible via email, (feministsupervixens AT yahoo) so stay in touch – and keep fighting the good fight!

I’ll leave you with two of my favorite poems by Marianne Moore:

Baseball and Writing

(Suggested by post-game broadcasts)

Fanaticism? No. Writing is exciting
and baseball is like writing.
You can never tell with either
how it will go
or what you will do;
generating excitement–
a fever in the victim–
pitcher, catcher, fielder, batter.
Victim in what category?
Owlman watching from the press box?
To whom does it apply?
Who is excited? Might it be I?

It’s a pitcher’s battle all the way–a duel–
a catcher’s, as, with cruel
puma paw, Elston Howard lumbers lightly
back to plate. (His spring
de-winged a bat swing.)
They have that killer instinct;
yet Elston–whose catching
arm has hurt them all with the bat–
when questioned, says, unenviously,
“I’m very satisfied. We won.”
Shorn of the batting crown, says, “We”;
robbed by a technicality.

When three players on a side play three positions
and modify conditions,
the massive run need not be everything.
“Going, going . . . ” Is
it? Roger Maris
has it, running fast. You will
never see a finer catch. Well . . .
“Mickey, leaping like the devil”–why
gild it, although deer sounds better–
snares what was speeding towards its treetop nest,
one-handing the souvenir-to-be
meant to be caught by you or me.

Assign Yogi Berra to Cape Canaveral;
he could handle any missile.
He is no feather. “Strike! . . . Strike two!”
Fouled back. A blur.
It’s gone. You would infer
that the bat had eyes.
He put the wood to that one.
Praised, Skowron says, “Thanks, Mel.
I think I helped a little bit.”
All business, each, and modesty.
Blanchard, Richardson, Kubek, Boyer.
In that galaxy of nine, say which
won the pennant? Each. It was he.

Those two magnificent saves from the knee-throws
by Boyer, finesses in twos–
like Whitey’s three kinds of pitch and pre-
diagnosis
with pick-off psychosis.
Pitching is a large subject.
Your arm, too true at first, can learn to
catch your corners–even trouble
Mickey Mantle. (“Grazed a Yankee!
My baby pitcher, Montejo!”
With some pedagogy,
you’ll be tough, premature prodigy.)

They crowd him and curve him and aim for the knees. Trying
indeed! The secret implying:
“I can stand here, bat held steady.”
One may suit him;
none has hit him.
Imponderables smite him.
Muscle kinks, infections, spike wounds
require food, rest, respite from ruffians. (Drat it!
Celebrity costs privacy!)
Cow’s milk, “tiger’s milk,” soy milk, carrot juice,
brewer’s yeast (high-potency–
concentrates presage victory

sped by Luis Arroyo, Hector Lopez–
deadly in a pinch. And “Yes,
it’s work; I want you to bear down,
but enjoy it
while you’re doing it.”
Mr. Houk and Mr. Sain,
if you have a rummage sale,
don’t sell Roland Sheldon or Tom Tresh.
Studded with stars in belt and crown,
the Stadium is an adastrium.
O flashing Orion,
your stars are muscled like the lion.

The Paper Nautilus

For authorities whose hopes
are shaped by mercenaries?
Writers entrapped by
teatime fame and by
commuters’ comforts? Not for these
the paper nautilus
constructs her thin glass shell.

Giving her perishable
souvenir of hope, a dull
white outside and smooth-
edged inner surface
glossy as the sea, the watchful
maker of it guards it
day and night; she scarcely

eats until the eggs are hatched.
Buried eight-fold in her eight
arms, for she is in
a sense a devil-
fish, her glass ram’shorn-cradled freight
is hid but is not crushed;
as Hercules, bitten

by a crab loyal to the hydra,
was hindered to succeed,
the intensively
watched eggs coming from
the shell free it when they are freed,–
leaving its wasp-nest flaws
of white on white, and close-

laid Ionic chiton-folds
like the lines in the mane of
a Parthenon horse,
round which the arms had
wound themselves as if they knew love
is the only fortress
strong enough to trust to.

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I Am Amused

January 22, 2007

by the writing of Ronald Firbank, whose novels I’ve been coasting through over the past few days.  They are light, but interesting – oblique and witty.

From Vainglory:

“Surely,” he reflected, “her hair must be wired?”

Probably, as his wife had hinted once, her secret lay simply in her untidiness.  She had made it a study.  Disorder, with her, had become a fine art.  A loose strand of hair… the helpless angle of a hat… And then, to add emphasis, there were always quantities of tiny buttons in absurd places on her frocks that cried aloud, or screamed, or gently prayed, to be fastened, and which, somehow, gave her an air of irresponsibility, which, for simple folk, was possibly quite fascinating.

 Another character says elsewhere:

“When I try to do arithmetic, clouds come down upon me like they do in Tannhäuser.”

It’s most entertaining to read such stuff on a gloomy cold day, accompanied by tea.

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Yes, I’d Rather Read Books

January 19, 2007

than read the output of most bloggerati, including the dude who wrote this:

Here’s my take on the whole matter — “intellectuals” who’d rather read books and measure purity are next-to-useless. I prefer people of action, not of [sic] elitist academics.

The best I can say about that statement is that it has a certain “Lost Boy” charm to it – We don’t need none o’ that there “sivilization”!  Those Lost Boys are so cute: Peter Pan, Huck Finn, Stalin…

This is what I call the “Year Zero” mentality: “We are young, we are bloggers, we are coming in to sweep away all the old nonfunctioning paradigms and reinvent the world!”  The problem with that idea is that if you’re insufficiently educated and insufficiently aware, as most of these bloggers are, you’ll be reinventing the wheel.  And you’ll probably be doing it wrong.

“Action” is essential, but only when the action is intelligently focused.  And you can’t focus intelligently when you’re unaware and you’re victimized by propaganda.

When the issue is feminism, the stakes are high.  There’s far too much misinformation, distortion, and general ignorance about feminism to allow any slacking-off in this department.  There’s an active campaign to criticize and silence feminist voices – and this hostility is not only coming from the right wing, but from some people who are ostensibly “progressives”.

I’ve noticed on a few occasions, when someone says something clueless about feminism and I advise the person to read certain important books, this tends to result in an indignant uproar, along the lines of: “How dare you say I’m not a good enough feminist because I haven’t read the right books!” 

Well, sorry, but that’s how it is.  Really. 

There’s no sin in being ill-informed.  The sin is in not taking steps to rectify that situation.

Here on Supervixens we’ll be talking about important feminist writers and activists, covering some people even your “women’s studies” class didn’t include.  The idea is to provide a jumping-off point so you can read more and learn more about feminism.

There’s a huge history of women and women’s accomplishments that is largely unknown.  The only way to find out about this is through reading and study.  The puerile punditocracy won’t be telling you about it.  We will.

Dreadful/Dreadless Woman (noun): Terrible Woman/Fearless Woman, who is ineffably frightening to the ruling fools.  Example: Bessie Smith (1894-1937), who was threatened by members of the ku klux klan during one of her shows (Concord, North Carolina, July 1927).  Bessie asked some stagemen to help her get rid of the hooded hoods, but the stagemen were terrified and fled:

Not Bessie.  She ran toward the intruders, stopped within ten feet of them, placed one hand on her hip, and shook a clenched fist at the Klansmen.  “What the fuck you think you’re doin’?” she shouted above the sound of the band.  “I’ll get the whole damn tent out here if I have to.  You just pick up them sheets and run!”

The Klansmen, apparently too surprised to move, just stood there and gawked.  Bessie hurled obscenities at them until they finally turned and disappeared quietly into the darkness. [Chris Albertson, Bessie]

Definition from Mary Daly’s Wickedary.  I’ll be writing more about Daly soon.

H. R. H. Supervixen

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Friday Happy Hour

January 12, 2007

Down at the Brueghels’ place, they really know how to do a Happy Hour: 

brueghel1.jpg 

Terence, This Is Stupid Stuff

Terence, this is stupid stuff:
You eat your victuals fast enough;
There can’t be much amiss, ’tis clear,
To see the rate you drink your beer.
But oh, good Lord, the verse you make,
It gives a chap the belly-ache.
The cow, the old cow, she is dead;
It sleeps well, the horned head:
We poor lads, ’tis our turn now
To hear such tunes as killed the cow.
Pretty friendship ’tis to rhyme
Your friends to death before their time
Moping melancholy mad:
Come, pipe a tune to dance to, lad.”
Why, if ’tis dancing you would be,
There’s brisker pipes than poetry.
Say, for what were hop-yards meant,
Or why was Burton built on Trent?
Oh many a peer of England brews
Livelier liquor than the Muse,
And malt does more than Milton can
To justify God’s ways to man.
Ale, man, ale’s the stuff to drink
For fellows whom it hurts to think:
Look into the pewter pot
To see the world as the world’s not.
And faith, ’tis pleasant till ’tis past:
The mischief is that ’twill not last.
Oh I have been to Ludlow fair
And left my necktie God knows where,
And carried half way home, or near,
Pints and quarts of Ludlow beer:
Then the world seemed none so bad,
And I myself a sterling lad;
And down in lovely muck I’ve lain,
Happy till I woke again.
Then I saw the morning sky:
Heigho, the tale was all a lie;
The world, it was the old world yet,
I was I, my things were wet,
And nothing now remained to do
But begin the game anew.
Therefore, since the world has still
Much good, but much less good than ill,
And while the sun and moon endure
Luck’s a chance, but trouble’s sure,
I’d face it as a wise man would,
And train for ill and not for good.
‘Tis true, the stuff I bring for sale
Is not so brisk a brew as ale:
Out of a stem that scored the hand
I wrung it in a weary land.
But take it: if the snack is sour,
The better for the embittered hour;
It should do good to heart and head
When your soul is in my soul’s stead;
And I will friend you, if I may,
In the dark and cloudy day.
There as a king reigned in the east:
There, when kings will sit to feast,
They get their fill before they think
With poisoned meat and poisoned drink.
He gathered all that springs to birth
From the many-venomed earth;
First a little, thence to more,
He sampled all her killing store;
And easy, smiling, seasoned sound,
Sate the king when healths went round.
They put arsenic in his meat
And stared aghast to watch him eat;
They poured strychnine in his cup
And shook to see him drink it up:
They shook, they stared as white’s their shirt:
Them it was their poison hurt.
–I tell the tale that I heard told.
Mithridates, he died old.

A. E. Housman

One can never have enough Britpoetry, unless it involves T. S. Eliot.

H.R.H. Supervixen

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Mmm, Tasty!

January 10, 2007

Reading Alan Bennett’s 2006 diary in the January 4 issue of the London Review of Books, I find this little entry:

24 November, Rome.  Sitting on a bench in the Pantheon while R. and Lynn fight their way round through hordes of schoolchildren (and it isn’t even half-term) I get talking to a young man who turns out to be a stonemason at Ely, working on the restoration of the cathedral.  He has been redoing some of the medieval carvings and says that the higher up the carving the more lewd the carvers’ imagination.  One capital he has had to restore had a devil biting off someone’s balls, and he needed the chapter’s permission before he could reproduce it.

Imagine that!  There were radical feminists back in medieval times.

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Excellent article by “irishwitch”

January 9, 2007

up on DKos: 

Contraceptive Mentality: Dispatches from the War on Women and Sexuality

Read it.  And the comments.  The tone of some of the male commenters is interesting.

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“Snools” and “Daddy’s Little Titterers”

January 9, 2007

marydaly.jpg

Mary Daly, with her labrys

One of the best writers I’ve encountered -both  in feminist philosophy, and in the world outside that “ghetto” – is Mary Daly, radical lesbian feminist theologian and activist.  She hits the nail on the head on so many issues, and does it with fiery eloquence.  She’s a true Supervixen.  I’ll provide a couple of quotes from her works today.   The passages in bold are my emphasis.

The first quote introduces the word “snool”, a marvelously useful word:

As Wanderlusty/Wonderlusty women weave our way Weirdward into the Realms of Pure Lust we find we must fight off the Fixers/Tricksters, those poisonous presences whose program is to freeze/frustrate our Movement.  These are the sovereigns of the sadostate, which can also be called the State of Boredom.  For it is infinitely boring to be blocked from the movement of/toward one’s innately ordained happiness.[…]

The compulsion to bore everywhere bores Lusty women.  The institutions of Boredom – its media, its schools, its industries, its amusements, its religion, its governments, its culture – are programmed to control Viragos, to keep us within the confines of bore-ocracy, using bore-ocratic details and mazes.  Weird women snore at the brothers’ Bored Meetings, seeing through the lecherous leaders as Chairmen of the Bored. […]

Given these conditions of Stag-Nation, Elemental Shrews and Furies urgently experience the need for Re-Naming/Re-Claiming our stolen Flames, undoing the promethean theft of Fire, retrieving our ravaged desire.

The would-be preventers of this retrieval of gynergy, the ghosts/ghouls that want our movement dead, are snools.  The noun snool (Scottish) means “a cringing person”.  It means also “a tame, abject, or mean-spirited person” (OED).  In sadosociety, snools rule, and snools are the rule.  The dual personalities of these personae – the cast of characters governing and legitimizing bore-ocracy – are unmasked by definitions of the verb snool.  This means, on the one hand, “to reduce to submission: COW, BULLY,” and on the other hand, “CRINGE, COWER.”  Snools are sadism and masochism combined, the stereotypic saints and heroes of the sadostate.

[…]

Snools appear and re-appear in various forms. […] Among the henchmen required for the smooth operation of fixocracy are the cocks, danglers, pricks, and flashers who keep girls and women intimidated.  Necessary also are the fakes, framers, frauds and hucksters whose job is to manufacture and spread delusions.  Heavier work is assumed by rakes, hacks, rippers and plug-uglies.  Plug-uglies are among the grosser snoolish incarnations.  Plug-ugly is defined as “a member of a gang of disorderly ruffians often active in political pressure and intimidation.” […] Plug-uglies, while creating the illusion that they are always giving something, are in fact drainers of energy whose plugged-in fittings close women’s circuits, sapping the flow of gynergetic currents so that these cannot circulate within/among women.

Such, then, are the rulers/snoolers of snooldom, the place/time where the air is filled with the crowing of cocks, the joking of jocks, the droning of clones, the sniveling of snookers and snudges, the noisy parades and processions of prickers.  Such is cockocracy/jockocracy, the State of supranational, supernatural erections.  This is a world made to the image of its makers, a chip off the old blocks/cocks, who are worshipped by the fraternal faithless as god the flasher, god the stud, and god the wholly hoax.

Wayward, wanton women, having been warned of the snoolish snares, proceed forthwith on our Wonderlusting/Wisdomweaving Quest.

From Pure Lust: Elemental Feminist Philosophy.

She also addresses the problem of all those women in society who are programmed to obey and cater to men, and to attack any women who challenge the Snoolish Status Quo.  I call them the “Little Sisters in the Frat House”.  Daly writes about this problem at length in her books, but here’s a brief quote that gives the gist:

Hag-ographers perceive the hilarious hypocrisy of “his” history.  At first this may be difficult, for when the whole is hypocrisy, the parts may not initially appear untrue.  To put it another way, when everything is bizarre, nothing seems bizarre.  Hags are women who struggle to see connections.  Hags risk a great deal – if necessary, everything – knowing that there is only Nothing to lose.  Hags may rage and roar, but they do not titter.

Webster’s defines titter as follows: “to give vent to laughter one is seeking to suppress: laugh lightly or in a subdued manner: laugh in a nervous, affected, or restrained manner, especially at a high pitch and with short catches of the voice [emphasis Daly’s].”  Self-loathing ladies titter; Hags and Harpies roar.  Fembots titter at themselves when Daddy turns the switch.  They totter when he pulls the string.  They titter especially at the spinning of Spinsters, whom they have been trained to see as dizzy dames.  Daddy’s Little Titterers try to intimidate women struggling for greatness.  This is what they are made for and paid for.  There is only one taboo for titterers: they must never laugh seriously at Father – only at his jokes.

from Gyn/Ecology: The Metaethics of Radical Feminism.

The aware Supervixen will learn to recognize these Snools and Titterers in her life.  She will stay away from them as much as possible.  She will fend them off and build up her shields against them.  They are “psychic vampires” intent on sucking her energies and destroying her.  And they are all over – especially on the Internet. 

A word to the wise is sufficient.

Be careful out there.

H.R.H. Supervixen