22

Jul

For many of these women, the reading experience begins from a place of seething rage. Take Sara Marcus’ initial impression of Jack Kerouac: “I remember putting On the Road down the first time a woman was mentioned. I was just like: ‘Fuck. You.’ I was probably 15 or 16. And over the coming years I realized that it was this canonical work, so I tried to return to it, but every time I was just like, ‘Fuck you.’” Tortorici had a similarly visceral reaction to Charles Bukowski: “I will never forget reading Bukowski’s Post Office and feeling so horrible, the way that the narrator describes the thickness of ugly women’s legs. I think it was the first time I felt like a book that I was trying to identify with rejected me. Though I did absorb it, and of course it made me hate my body or whatever.” Emily Witt turned to masculine texts to access a sexual language that was absent from books about women, but found herself turned off by their take: “many of the great classic coming-of-age novels about the female experience don’t openly discuss sex,” she says in No Regrets. “I read the ones by men instead, until I was like, ‘I cannot read another passage about masturbation. I can’t. It was like a pile of Kleenex.”
This isn’t just about the books. When young women read the hyper-masculine literary canon—what Emily Gould calls the “midcentury misogynists,” staffed with the likes of Roth, Mailer, and Miller—their discomfort is punctuated by the knowledge that their male peers are reading these books, identifying with them, and acting out their perspectives and narratives. These writers are celebrated by the society that we live in, even the one who stabbed his wife. In No Regrets, Elif Bautman talks about reading Henry Miller for the first time because she had a “serious crush” on a guy who said his were “the best books ever,” and that guy’s real-life recommendation exacerbated her distaste for the fictional. When she read Miller, “I felt so alienated by the books, and then thinking about this guy, and it was so hot and summertime … I just wanted to kill myself. … He compared women to soup.”

In No Regrets, women writers talk about what it was like to read literature’s “midcentury misogynists.” (via becauseiamawoman)

Here’s a fun thing you learn when you study literature: the western canon is not universally beloved. Those books are not the Truth any more than the New York Post is skilled journalism. The main reason they’re held in such high esteem is because they were written by boring white dudes with rage fantasies and boring white dudes with rage fantasies also happen to be largely in charge of deciding which books are deemed classics and taught forever in the American school system.
So if your boyfriend tells you he loves Kerouac then you tell your boyfriend Kerouac was a fucking second rate hack who wrote Beat style because he didn’t have the skill or talent to write any other way, which is probably also why he just copied every adolescent male wanderlust story since the beginning of time. That shit’s derivative and boring.

(via saintthecla)

why are logicians so catty? because any disagreement two logicians could have reflects one’s misunderstanding of the most basic principles of thought.  the insufficiently examined privilege of the social-justice leftists ain’t got nothing on ‘you’re using the word “if” wrong.’

some surf rock for your morning.

(Source: lovrdlogic)

21

Jul

200degreemrfahrenheit:

Series of paintings discovered in an abandon mental asylum in Italy.

"The Grain of the Voice" is one of the boringer Bartheses I’ve read.  It’s cool to see him writing about the sounds of language, but his whole goal seems to be to convince you that some singers have more interesting voices than others, via Sollers and Kristeva somehow.

Near the end, he claims that his judgment of voices’ “grains” exceeds “the laws of culture but equally that of anticulture, developing beyond the subject all the value hidden behind ‘I like’ or ‘I don’t like’.”  I firmly believe that no such value is hidden!  The beauty of ‘I like’ statements is that they’re self-ratifying: the evidence for the truth of such a statement is nothing but the statement itself.  Likewise, the value of such a statement is nothing but the statement itself.  Saying that you like something points out the connection between that thing and some deep piece of your soul, but there’s ultimately no way to talk about that connection besides yet more ‘I like’ statements.  Just… like things, and like them strongly, and find more things to like.

"The voice is not personal; it expresses nothing of the cantor, of his soul; it is not original (all Russian cantors have roughly the same voice), and at the same time it is individual: it has us hear a body which has no civil identity, no ‘personality’, but which is nevertheless a separate body.  Above all, this voice bears along directly the symbolic, over the intelligible, the expressive: here, thrown in front of us like a packet, is the Father, his phallic stature.”
Barthes, “The Grain of the Voice”

baseball + pythagoras

Baseball’s Pythagorean Theorem

Been reading about baseball statistics recently, as part of a new project.  What you may know if you’ve seen/read Moneyball: mathematical thinking about baseball was hella weak for its first 100 years, and was totally revolutionized in the late 70s with Bill James’s series of Baseball Abstracts.  His techniques have only recently started to be applied in the major leagues.

James is kind of a hero: English major, wrote his first treatise while night watchman at a pork and beans factory, self-published and distributed zine-style.  In the book Moneyball, the reigning ideology on baseball stats pre-James is presented as Victorian and moralizing: an error is a record of a fielder’s failure, runs are earned by the pitcher, and so on.  James’s ideas are a little more, dare I say, postmodern.  Check it:

"What is an error?  It is, without exception, the only major statistic in sports which is a record of what an observer thinks should have been accomplished.  It’s a moral judgment, really, in the quasi-morality of the locker room … It is, uniquely, a record of opinions.”

1977 Historical Baseball Abstract

Below the jump, a “theorem” due to Bill James.

Read More

19

Jul

Men Of Science More Or Less Agog — via Wikipedia

Men Of Science More Or Less Agog — via Wikipedia