These are just fantastic.
These are just fantastic.
And well they should. Her angry rant (a taste—“Being called ugly and fat and disgusting to look at from the time I could barely understand what the words meant has scarred me so deep inside that I have learned to hunt, stalk, claim, own and defend my own loveliness and my image of myself as stunningly gorgeous with a ruthlessness and a defensiveness that I fear for anyone who casually or jokingly questions it, as my anger and rage combined with my intense and fearsome command of words create insults meant to maim, kill and destroy”) is burning up the Interwebs today.
But I can’t help noticing that a lot of my friends and acquaintances who are linking to and reposting Cho’s blistering words, usually with some comment roughly equal to “You go, girl!” or maybe just a “like” on Facebook, are straight men who would never dream of dating a fat woman. Now, they might fuck one (especially if there weren’t any “pretty” girls available), but only in secret. God forbid that anyone should see them with a fat woman or think they were (gross!) attracted to a fat woman. But, you know, just because they happen to have a personal preference for slim, “fit” women doesn’t mean they think fat women are any less deserving of love or admiration. After all, there they are, publicly supporting Margaret Cho in her quest to reclaim dignity for women who don’t conform to the western standards (white, thin, young) of beauty. So they’re good guys, open-minded guys, guys who want the best for women, all women, okay? It’s just that they personally can’t stomach the idea of sleeping with a fat woman or conceive of fat women as attractive sexual beings. You understand, right? That’s only reasonable, that people be allowed to have their personal preferences, isn’t it? As long as they don’t say out loud that they find the idea of touching a fat woman repulsive, they aren’t doing any harm, right?
It’s what you would expect, but no less powerful for it.
This (along with Roxane Gay’s take at HTMLGiant) is probably the best thing I’ve read about the whole mess. Certainly the most literate and objective. Which is a relief, because now I can declare myself officially through with this depressing little object lesson.
And can I just add that Stephen Elliott’s insistence on seeing Marie Calloway as some sort of hapless victim to a “predatory” older writer is … bizarre at best? Does Elliott really ascribe so little autonomy or power to women? Is it inconceivable to him that a young, pretty woman might ply her youth and prettiness in her own arguably just as predatory (if not more so!) pursuits?
A few things well worth your time, well worth it, I say.
Tim Dicks has 3 new verbal funnies up at Uncanny Valley, and they are perfect. Seriously, don’t you think they are perfect, especially the last one? It surprised me into wanting to cry. I’ve read it several times, trying to work out whether it should make me feel so sad.
Joe Berkowitz and Joanna Neborsky have a new “My Superpower is Being Alone Forever” on The Awl, and it is just as brilliant as the last one. When I posted a link to the last one on my Facebook page, concerned friends seemed to think I was depressed. Totally beside the point! I was simply offering it as an example of excellence on the Internets! The fact that Berkowitz’s submersion in crushing loneliness and lovelessness perfectly mirrors my own is irrelevant here!
Writers and their books. Everybody loves Chekhov. It’s the law!
Here is quite possibly the worst article about business practices that I have ever read. It is breathtakingly stupid. Really. I want bad things to happen to its tone-deaf authors—ideally they would be fired by their own bullshit “innovation” consultancy company for causing a monstrous image problem best summarized as “you made us look like major-league assholes.”
Man, I bet these guys killed during the tech bubbles… .
Weiss: Do you still suffer from it [insomnia]?
Cioran: A lot less. But that was a precise period, about six or seven years, when my whole perspective on the world changed. I think it’s a very important problem. It happens like this: normally someone who goes to bed and sleeps all night almost begins a new life the next day. It’s not simply another day, it’s another life. And so, he can undertake things, he can manifest himself, he has a present, a future, and so on. But for someone who doesn’t sleep, from the time of going to bed at night to waking up in the morning it’s all continuous, there’s no interruption. Which means there is no suppression of consciousness. It all revolves around that. So, instead of starting a new life, at eight in the morning you’re like you were at eight the evening before. The nightmare continues uninterrupted in a way, and in the morning, start what? Since there’s no difference from the night before. That new life doesn’t exist. The whole day is a trial, it’s the continuity of the trial. Well, while everyone rushes toward the future, you are on the outside. So, when that’s stretched out for months and years, it causes your sense of things, your conception of life, to be forcibly changed. You do not see what future to look toward, because you don’t have any future. And I really consider that the most terrible, most unsettling, in short, the principal experience of my life. There’s also the fact that you are alone with yourself. In the middle of the night, everyone’s asleep, you are the only one who is awake. Right away I’m not a part of humanity, I live in another world…
An interview with E.M. Cioran from Jason Weiss’s book Writing at Risk: Interviews in Paris with Uncommon Writers, excerpted at the always-excellent 50 Watts.
Hemmed in by towering stacks of proofs and reviews, behind on crucial deadline schedules, I nevertheless could no longer ignore the ominous rumblings and crampings that had driven me to the women’s room this morning. Hunched up on a too-short toilet in silent agony, results were uncertain, precarious—something was up, time was clearly going to have to be taken—and I muttered to myself, “I don’t have time for this shit.” Then I smirked and said out loud, “No, literally, I don’t have time for this particular shit.”
And yes, to answer the schoolboy in us all, it all came out okay.
Here’s how I know for sure that I’m growing old. I don’t have it in me to express how I feel and how I don’t feel about Bin Laden’s death, and I don’t have it in me to explain it to anyone. Nor do I want to. It’s not that I don’t think it matters—it’s that I know it wouldn’t matter. People are reacting, just feeling, just looking for a group of people who will say, “me too!” and that’s fine, that’s what they’ll do. I’m not there (I don’t know where I am), and I don’t need to be commenting from the sidelines. But I have to draw back, because I’m flinching and muttering and feeling a despair and an isolation that may or may not be rational but that certainly isn’t enlightening.
I watched the president’s address live last night. Later, I woke from a bad dream, unremembered now, with a great gasp and a feeling that my heart had stopped beating. I laid there and waited for the cramping pain in my chest to subside, and then I thought to myself, “I’m going to need some good CDs for the car.” Today, instead of the usual news, I listened to Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley. Tomorrow I’ll probably give brother Nat a spin. And something else, something I can sing with. And a few days from now, or maybe weeks, I’ll start looking at Facebook and Twitter again. Maybe that’s cowardice? I don’t know. I’ll let you know if I figure it out.
Jiri Trnka, illustration for Andersen’s Fairy Tales, 1959, courtesy of the brilliant-on-a-daily-basis 50 Watts