next time you go to accuse a teenage girl of overreacting remember that when a bunch of elderly white men couldn’t agree on something, they shut down the government
If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Dommingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity. And because you grow up with this, it’s this huge surprise when you go to college and realize that, “Oh, women aren’t people who does my shit and fucks me.”
And I think that this a huge challenge for boys, because they want to pretend they can write girls. Every time I’m teaching boys to write, I read their women to them, and I’m like, “Yo, you think this is good writing?” These motherfuckers attack each other over cliche lines but they won’t attack each other over these toxic representations of women that they have inherited… their sexist shorthand, they think that is observation. They think that their sexist distortions are insight. And if you’re in a writing program and you say to a guy that their characters are sexist, this guy, it’s like you said they fucking love Hitler. They will fight tooth and nail because they want to preserve this really vicious sexism in the art because that is what they have been taught.
And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherfuckers.” So women come with it built in because of the society.
It’s the same way when people write about race. If you didn’t grow up being a subaltern person in the United States, you might need help writing about race. Motherfuckers are like ‘I got a black boy friend,’ and their shit sounds like Klan Fiction 101.
The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not pass down in political practice, they’re pass down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons. And if you want to be a good artist, it means writing, really, about the world. And when you write cliches, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, that is a fucking cliche. And motherfuckers will kill you for their cliches about x, but they want their cliches about their race, class, queerness. They want it in there because they feel lost without it. So for me, this has always been the great challenge.
As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track. They tell you, “You know what? You’re a bit of a fucking homophobe.” You can’t write about the world with these simplistic distortions. They are cliches. People know art, always, because they are uncomfortable. Art discomforts. The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real. And sexism is a way to avoid the real, avoiding the reality of women. Homophobia is to avoid the real, the reality of queerness. All these things are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that.
|—||Junot Diaz speaking at Word Up Bookshop, 2012 (via ofgrammatology)|
Turf church Hofskirkja, Iceland. Little church made from wood and peat (turf). Is one of the last peat churches in Iceland. The humps in the grass are ancient graves.
Photo credit: Menno Schaefer
The Eleventh Doctor and River Song. It begins with a Doctor who approaches River with apprehension — unsure of what her presence in his life means and a River who is contemplating what her own future holds as she is sure she is coming to an end of her relationship with him. He smiles at her — the intriguing woman who comes in out of the blue and shakes up his life. The woman he’s excited to be just beginning a relationship with while entirely too aware of how it will end for them. So many years together now in her past, but when she looks at him she can’t help but smile at how young and adorable he is — knowing all of that is just beginning for him.
And then there is a Doctor and a River who comfortably bicker like the old married couple they are — long after he’s learned everything about her and what she means to him. In these times, they can forget about the tragedy, the spoilers, and the pain. They are coming off of a date that’s gone wildly off course — again. Smiling as they somehow manage to narrowly escape with their lives — again. Adventures. Misadventures. A little bickering. A little flirting. And a mad dash smiling and laughing back to the Tardis. This is one of the few glimpses into their normal life — the life River was remembering as the oh so young Doctor smiled at her and the life he only had the vaguest of ideas was ahead of him. And you know that neither of them would have it any other way.