Archive for the ‘opera’ Category

h1

Life Is Too Short

February 2, 2007

to hang around with anyone who’s not a feminist.  And that includes the precious little folks who say, “I don’t believe in your kind of feminism, I only believe in this kind of feminism, which is so much different.”  The hell with that shit.  You either believe in feminism or you don’t.  End of story.

Life is too short to tolerate bullies, abusers and liars – the ones in the White House, and the ones who pretend to be on our side.

As matters in the world become more urgent, it’s becoming increasingly imperative to call people on their snoolery

Don’t make the mistake of believing that because someone claims to be a “Democrat” or a “liberal” or a “progressive” that the person really IS one.

Don’t fall for the “Big Tent” line.  It’s code for “Hey babe, we’re throwing your values out the window.  Get over it.”

Speak the truth.  Stand your ground.  Tell off the thugs.  Blow the whistle.  Let your Supervixen flag fly.

It’s really not that hard.  The snools want you to think it is, but it’s not.

h1

The Inconvenient Truth

January 6, 2007

It’s been interesting observing the roiling soup over at Daily Kos, the accusations and character assassinations flying back and forth, and all the different brawls.  There are the brawls instigated by small-fry bullies trying to “make their bones” and impress the admins, and there are the long-standing grudge matches between Major Playahs who, like Japanese movie monsters, occasionally take a break from terrorizing the general population to spend some quality time breathing fire at each other.

It’s a very similar feeling to that I once experienced while sitting in the upper deck at a home opener at Yankee Stadium.  Not being a Yankees fan, I didn’t realize until that day that it was a tradition to get insanely drunk at the home opener and start fights with fellow fans.  The preferred method appeared to be to throw popcorn and/or beer down on people a few rows below you, and then scream obscenities at them when they turned around to see what the hell was happening.  If you did this right, you could engineer quite a considerable free-for-all.

As I looked down from my lofty perch, I saw knots of combatants coalescing all throughout the stadium, the knots growing larger and finally spinning out of control while blue-suited security guards slowly waded towards them.  There was a game taking place on the diamond, but nobody seemed to care about it – they were too engrossed in their own personal fights. 

Leaving the stadium afterwards, walking down the long ramp toward the street, I was crushed in a mass with thousands of drunken, belligerent men, some of whom were so trashed they could hardly walk, and all of them uttering garbled cries that sounded like the bellowing of cattle going to the slaughter. 

I resolved then and there never to go to Yankee Stadium again, under any circumstances.

Watching Daily Kos from afar, I see many similarities to that day at the stadium.  It’s truly a toxic environment, wrapped up in its own narcissistic brutality and unsuited to any positive interaction at all, much less achieving a positive change in the world.  I was planning to write a detailed account of the events leading up to my banning, with a description of the double standards and favoritism, the ways the “rules” are selectively enforced by a small band of thuggish semi-morons, and the way that lying, deception and manipulation permeate the entire site down from the very top of the hierarchy.  This is an excellent example, from the Wizard of Kos himself:

One of the problems we’ve had in the past when people step out of bounds on the site, behavior-wise, is that our choice of responses was limited. We could ban, which was extreme, we could give a public warning, but being publicly called out sometimes elicits the exact opposite kind of response. And as for sending emails, we don’t demand current and working email addresses from our users for privacy reasons.

Now, we have a warning system in place. If someone steps out of bounds (being an asshole in the comments, copyright violation, etc.), an admin can lock down the user’s account. A warning shows up at the top of the page explaining the transgression. The user has to click a button acknowledging he or she has read the warning before being given access to the site.

That sounds good, but the inconvenient truth is that the admins don’t give a rat’s ass about this, at least where it affects people they dislike.  When I was banned, I received no such warning.  Neither did two other recently-banned Kossacks, whose only offense appeared to be that they said a few things critical of DKos Sacred Cows.  On the other hand, two other posters who made a puerile sexist remark about a female front pager were quickly banned, and then, later on, quietly reinstated.  These posters must have kissed the proper asses in the proper way.

As I said, I planned to write in detail about all this, but the longer I’ve been out of the Daily Kos environment, the less I give a shit about it.  Like the day at Yankee Stadium, the immediate horror and disgust of living through it is past, leaving it a merely trivial episode, good for a laugh.

I only hope that none of the Big Swinging Snools at Daily Kos ever get any real-life power in our government, because if they do, we’re all fucked.

And now, on to bigger, better Supervixenish things.  Happy Kosless New Year!

h1

The Old Pork Sword

January 2, 2007

Opera fans will find much to admire in the great heaving spectacle of Daily Kos going mad over the past couple of days, complete with fine costumes, elephants, and shrilling arias from divas both male and female.  As all my favorite operas do, this one touched on the theme of adultery and betrayal.  So last evening I was leafing through the December 14 issue of the London Review of Books, and what should I find but a most excellent article, a review of a biography of Kingsley Amis by Zachary Leader.

 The reviewer, Stefan Collini, quotes a former editor of Amis’s:

To his friends he seemed gifted, abrasive, condignly abusive, enjoyable, engrossing.  He was the glamorous beauty of his circle.

Collini writes:

He and Hilly [his first wife] each had a lot of sex with other people (I mean a lot of sex: he was ‘a man who used to live for adultery’ during these years, according to his son’s uncensorious recollection.  The stormy bohemianism of their relationship was finally put under intolerable strain when Amis started an affair with the writer Elizabeth Jane Howard.  Almost immediately, this affair threatened to be different from its innumerable predecessors because Kingsley fell passionately in love with Jane.  Hilly finally walked out on him; he and Jane set up together, marrying in 1965.

This seems to have been a golden period in Amis’s life: he was in love, and with a fellow writer (they read their tally of words to each other over pre-dinner drinks). […] But Leader’s clear-eyed narrative leaves enough clues around for those disposed to look for the seeds of later decline.  Amis expected people to look after him, especially if they were married to him.  He held ‘wholly traditional notions of the female domestic sphere’, in Leader’s dry summary.  Amis organized the drinking, of which there was a lot; Jane did everything else, of which there was a lot more, including paying closer attention to his children than Amis always remembered to do.  His writing included more and more meretricious or cheaply ideological journalism…

Jane eventually walked out, of course.  After many years of marriage she got fed up with him.  Supervixens may appreciate the irony of Amis’s later years: unable to take care of himself, he moved in with his ex-wife, Hilly, and her husband, an impoverished peer.  She looked after Amis and he paid her for it.  She needed the money.

I love Amis’s books, and have defended him on many occasions against being a misogynist.  In his novels, at least – he was a fine writer with a keen eye for human character, both male and female – he was evenhanded.  He showed the flaws of men as well as women.  But in his personal life, he did, alas, have a nasty blind spot towards women:

He really did seem to think of ‘females’, collectively, as a separate species, maddeningly attractive though a few among them might be.  When he was young, their chief function was to be on the receiving end of ‘the old pork sword’; when he was older, especially after Jane had left him, he banged on about their general irrationality and vindictiveness (though at the same time confiding to his son that life without a woman was ‘only half a life’).

 And then there is this:

There are too many reports of his ‘domineering’ social style: he was ‘determined to monopolise the conversation’; he could be ‘very dictatorial’; ‘he was full of fun but “if you took issue with him then you were in trouble”; ‘when Kingsley was arguing, he didn’t just despise your opinions, he despised you personally’; he will look for your weak spot and then he will press it’ and so on.  The will to power had hardened into a kind of bullying.

[…]

Negativity more and more became his modal form.  And this, too, can be a form taken by the will to power.  Never venture onto terrain where you can’t dominate.  If you can’t be the one in the spotlight, kick the fucking bulb out.

What a coincidence: I saw that scene in the opera!  Well, except that the heroic tenor wasn’t “full of fun” – in fact, he wasn’t even a tenor, he was a sinister baritone.

How are you Supervixens doing out there?