Last night, trying to clean up/cool down, I jumped in the shower after tuning the new bathroom radio (courtesy new roomie Colby!) to the local trashy pop station. The target audience of this station is teenage girls/me and my friends, and they indiscriminately play basically anything: Pink, Shakira, Nelly, Linkin Park or however they spell that shit, Ashanti, etc. So two songs I heard, one after the other: reality-TV sensation Kelly Osbourne's new "rock" version of Papa Don't Preach, followed by the new dance-pop version of Bryan Adams' Heaven. And so I thought about the total collapse of musical categories in this age of hypermedia and accelerating mass cultural production -- what's pop is hip pop is rock is pop. I also thought about how the station almost never tells you who the song artists are, because it doesn't matter, they only get one hit anyway. This deep po-mo moment reminded me of a conversation I had with Emily, discussing how though the weekend had recently moved to beginning on Wednesdays, it might now begin on Mondays, leaving me to argue that Monday is the New Friday, and Emily to sagely point out that time/space has fully collapsed and Friday is the New Friday. Dude.
But then again, some music still matters, and somehow in the midst of the billions of dollars that ciruclate around market niches, people write songs that move your mind as well as your ass. Our pal and Dean's sis Lissiehunt compiled a tape of music videos for our cable-free home, and Colby and I have a nightly routine of watching the really beautiful Nas video for One Mic. Cynthia Fuchs has a review here. We're also rediscovering The Score and its brilliant lyrics... a good soundtrack to the summer.
Just two quick links: The first, an article in this week's Village Voice about Bush's inner circle of conservative thinkers who are effectively and thoroughly reshaping the landscape of u.s. civil liberties. As the article points out, many of the people responsible for the legal framework of the "war on terrorism" have ties to the hella creepy Federalist Society, a think tank and policy institute that publishes articles on topics such as why "suspected al Qaeda members" can be imprisoned indefinitely without trial. And then, on a not unrelated note, an article from today's New York Times about new satellite camera technology that affords police "superhuman vision" with which to monitor any and all outdoor movement, of anybody. Eek.
So a lot of my summer reading thus far has been science studies sort of stuff, starting with some some things by Paul Virilio. Though, as I mentioned in earlier posts, I certainly felt compelled by Virilio's critique of the notion that technology is infinitely malleable, playful, and liberatory, I find his ability to deal with bodies pretty lacking. He seems invested in some notion of a natural body that technology corrupts, and that natural body appears in his writing as un-sexed and un-raced. I found a more thorough and attentive conversation in the work of critical artist collective Los Cybrids who produce visual and textual media on issues of surveillance, IT, and technocratic fantasies. In their short but brilliant essay Webopticon, Arquitectura of Control they show clearly how the dangerous and seductive multiplication of information technologies through government apparatuses (of which Virilio writes) carries heavy costs for those targetted by the u.s. war on people of color and the poor. They write:
You should go check out their other rad works on the site.
I'm also now digging through A Cyborg Manifesto by Donna Haraway which offers a feminist entry point to techno-dialogues. Ostensibly, all this work is leading to a paper I'll submit to the dream-come-true Buffy conference taking place in the fall. I'm thinking about prosthetic bodies, Luddites, and forbidden desires for visceral engagements with the social world (i.e. fucking vampires).
How happy was I to find that montezboy is making it okay for the post-punk queers to come out about loving some pop music? I too am obsessed with Aaliyah's We Need a Resolution right now. And montezboy, if you're into Slave 4U, you need to hear the darkchild remix of Overprotected. Total infectious genius--the first time it played at our local gay teen pop palace, the crowd burst into applause. (You can get it from my favorite place to steal music while supposedly working, audiogalaxy.)
In other news, I went to SF and came back after enjoying some fun in the sun. Been writing some shit about the prisonization of public space and public housing, also working on something about inappropriate bodies, trans gender, and where I fit myself in all that. Thinking alot about writing, writing in public, about community formations around and through politics. The usual, I supposed. Heard that some cool stuff is being planned for Ladyfest LA which prompted my frequent fantasies of a return to the city of angels.
our new friend karl just recommended this site and you might also want to look at the site for gay shame san francisco. It was a fun event this year. There was an awards ceremony where the most awful right wing queers were nominated in various categories, and afterwards we took over the intersection of market and castro for a dance party. Colby and i were stunned and excited by the low police presence and just how un-new york the whole experience was in terms of police interactions. and yet, i still booked my ticket back to ny this morning.
I just posted these two really great speeches that micah bazant has given at pro-palestine events recently. it's exciting to be on the west coast meeting rad jewish pro-palestine tranny activists. i recommend it as far as vacations go. micah also makes a beautiful zine that was a real inspiration to me when i was preparing for surgery. it's called timtum i think, and you can get it from Pander.
In other news, I found out that I'm a finalist for some big grant of dirty money I'm trying to get for the low-income trans law project I'm starting, so I have to go back to NYC at the end of the month for the interview. Weird to be going back. Seeing Craig's face helped me remember what I do over there, but it still seems far away and long ago that I was there.
oh, one more thing, i just posted the thing i wrote for Piss&Vinegar because I found it on a disk here.
I'm headed out for an impromptu trip to the left coast. A little meet and greet with our California cell, if you will. In the meantime, has anyone seen Y Tu Mamá También? If so, what did you think? I'm eager to discuss this with folks. For all the raunchy, goofy hotness of the film (Allison described it as "everything this other road trip movie should have been"), I think there was quite a bit of interesting stuff going on about sex and sexism/gender and class. I don't want to give away too much, but I thought the film challenged the whole "sexual excess equals death" thing that happens in movies a lot, and in that sense rejects the sexist views of the boys for a more complicated vision of women's sexuality. Maybe? Anyway, it's a funny and dirty good time.
i just wrote this thing, about trying to create trans-safe spaces, and what it means to be an ally, and i formatted it really badly but try to look past that if you can, k? also, i hear a rumor from all my favorite boyfriends (az, boots, and clyde willse) that the people over at strap-on.org are battling it out over the interview mimi did with us. I think that given the amount of hateration around trans issues i've already been experiencing this week, i might wait to read these threads, but you should feel free to go wild, and let us know what you think. its in the "transforum" section, and the thread is called "url du jour." good luck.