Sunday, March 31, 2013

I just wish my name was Melisandre.

Haaaaaay, bannermen and bannergals! The day has finally come—Game of Thrones season 3 is here to confuse and delight and boobatize you! (I was once angrily accused of "boobatizing" a gentleman in the parking lot of a salsa club. My best guess is that it's like "hypnotize" but with boobs. Seemed relevant here.) But do you even remember what was going on with all your pals in Westeros? Confused about whether or not you should give the show a shot at all? Don't worry, I've got your FAQ.
Is shit about to go down in this next season?
YES. So much shit goes so far down. Season three is going to cover roughly the first half of A Storm of Swords, which contains some of the most hardcore baller moves ever committed to paper by the hand of man. You know how you thought GRRM was not fucking around back when he let Ned execute Lady? You were a fool. You were a fool then. He has not even started to not fuck around.
What's going to happen to Arya? I'm so nervous!!!
Oh, man. The best stuff. All the best stuff. Are you okay with spoilers? If not, DON'T CLICK HERE.
What's with that red lady? Do I hate her?
Eh, sorta. Her name is Melisandre and she's really, really into this "Red God" named R'hllor, and she's convinced that Stannis is the second coming of this magic warrior named Azor Ahai. She does a bunch of dickish stuff, like murdering that nice Maester and making Stannis burn all of the New Gods (someone worked hard on those carvings, man!), and also she sometimes gives birth to a shadow assassin, which is not cute. But like so many other characters in GoT (Kingslayer, holler), Melisandre gets more complicated and sympathetic as time goes on. Also, weirdly enough, R'hllor turns out to be kind of real? Like, he actually does stuff except for just being-a-statue, which is all the Seven seem to do. He starts necromancing folks eventually, for one thing. And he sends Melisandre some hella helpful visions about what's going on up top, north of the Wall. Anyway, basically I think Melisandre is like any other well-meaning person of faith: her zealotry has some downsides, but she's genuinely just trying to help.
I didn't watch the first two seasons. What did I miss?
Okay. So everyone is in a fight. The Starks live in the north and they love honor. The Lannisters are the richest and the blondest and they love scheming. Tyrion is the best Lannister and Joffrey is the worst. There are a bunch of other families who all live in different places, and they all have Big Ideas about who should be the king. The Lannisters think Joffrey should be the king (which he currently is). Stannis thinks Stannis should be the king. The Starks think that Robb should be the King in the North, but also maybe in the South if that works out. Daenerys thinks she should be the queen, because of "birthright," which is really kind of arbitrary bullshit if you think about it (the entire point of this series is thatpower is an illusion, so who cares who your dumb dad was?). Daenerys is trying really hard to get back to Westeros and "claim" her throne (NOT YOURS, DING-DONG). Also she has some dragons. They haven't done much yet. Basically Daenerys is just treading water for a few books until everyone else catches up and it's time for her to fly to Westeros on a dragon and make trouble. Tyrion is just running shit like a boss, but everyone hates him anyway because he is a sarcastic dwarf and they are awful. North of the Wall there's an army of Wildlings who you're supposed to be afraid of, but really they just want to find a place to live that isn't infested with snow-zombies. Also they don't care much for the BS power struggles going on down south. Everyone thinks the Wildlings are the problem, but really THE ZOMBIES ARE THE PROBLEM. All y'all, including me, needs to stop bickering and start figuring out how we're going to smush these zombies. Like, ASAP. (And, yeah, they're notexactly zombies.)
Is this show racist? Where are all the black people?
I have no idea where the black people are, dude. I think they're over in the Summer Islands wearing cloaks of shining feathers and being really really good at intercourse? (On that note, what happens in the Summer Islands when Winter comes? Because if they just get to keep kickin' it in the sunshine without any frost-zombies eating their brainz, then WHY DOES ANYONE LIVE IN THE NORTH AT ALL?) Game of Thrones certainly isn't progressive when it comes to race, but I don't know if it's worse than any other Euro-centric medieval fantasy (low bar, I know!). Non-white people are pretty much nonexistent in the show—except for in Qarth, which falls into that weird Benetton trope where there's, like, one person of every race just hanging out together on a council for no reason. The only darker-skinned group of people you get to know with any level of intimacy is the Dothraki, who are your typical generically-brown not-so-noble savages. To GRRM's credit, maybe, all of the show's slimiest villains are lily-white, but all of the central heroes are lily-white too. Which, I suppose, makes the point that evil is a human rot that transcends phenotype—all of the characters are allowed to be evil or good or confusingly in between without being taken as a representative for their entire race. So I guess it comes down to this: It is not as bad to construct a fictional universe populated mostly by white people as it is to construct, say, a fictional version of New York City from which all of the people of color have been erased. But, that said, YOU'RE CREATING A FICTIONAL WORLD FROM SCRATCH. You made dragons exist but you couldn't figure out how to have, like, a black dude living in Westeros? Unfortunate. (There's a great essay about all of this over here.)
I'm a woman. How should I feel about all the boobs and the rape stuff?
Personally, I'm not particularly bothered. Like, clearly all of this is GRRM's pervy fantasy tosome extent, but when you read the books you get the sense that this is a hyper-masculine world in which women have very little power beyond their wiles and their sexuality. The level of sexual violence, in that context, comes off as more realistic than prurient—to me, it feels like a statement about rape culture rather than an example of it. You know? Like, if therewere a society run by crazy warriors in which sexual aggression were left unchecked to such a degree, there's almost no law enforcement, and women were almost entirely helpless and disenfranchised, then this probably is the kind of environment those women would have to live in. That's a frightening vision, but I don't think it's an endorsement of rape culture as much as an acknowledgment and a criticism of it. But I don't know. Long story short, I'm not bothered, and my tolerance is typically pretty low for exploitative shit. But if you're bothered, I don't blame you. Trigger warning for sure.
Who's the best character?
Ugh, is Joffrey EVER going to fucking die? Everyone else on this show dies! Why not Joffrey!?!?!?
I hate fantasy stuff. Why should I watch it?
Well, if you really hate fantasy stuff (i.e. armor, sigils, lances, feasts, dragons, hill people, magic wolves, cold castle floors covered in dirty rushes, etc.), you probably shouldn't. But for what it's worth, Game of Thrones is much more about human struggles than it is about supernatural ones. Like, yes, there are some baby dragons, but Danaerys's story is mainly about the nuts and bolts of grassroots organizing. And there are a couple of people who sort of qualify as "wizards," but they're not up to anything spectacular. An important thing to keep in mind is that a ton of the characters in Game of Thrones have the same attitude toward magic that you or I do. They think it's bullshit. They happen to be wrong, because magic is secretly happening all over the place, but it's honestly not a major component in the story. Mostly the story is about people being power-hungry dicks to each other, and how the chaos of life will take you down no matter how nice or vicious or wily you are. Valar morghulis, bitchez!
Are the dragon babies brothers and sister too, and will they have to have incest sex to procreate?
Will Samwell Tarly survive the white walkers long enough to extricate Gilly from her twisted incestuous home life?
Yes! Spoiler.
Should I get attached to any of these characters?
No. Definitely not. Everything you love will die.
How am I supposed to keep all these white dudes straight?
To figure out who a character is, just look at the color of their unconvincing wig. Blond = Lannister. White = Targaryen. Red = Tully. Brown = Stark. Black = Baratheon. You know, give or take one million exceptions.
How big are the dragons going to get?
Oh, man. NOBODY KNOWS. Probably really big, though. I mean, Balerion the Black Dread had teeth as long as swords, and these second-coming dragz are kind of a big deal. So, big. I'm guessing.
Is anything more boring than Catelyn standing around worrying about stuff?
YES. 1) 8 million grumpy Yunkai'i who all have the same name and want to argue about commerce. 2) That dude in the Iron Islands who really, really likes drowning people. 3) Dorne.
Which character would be the best rebound for Loras?
Ummmmm, how about Ser Barristan the Bold? I feel like they could have a cute May-December thing, and also stay up all night gossiping about fighting and polishing each other's armor.
Will Arya and Nymeria ever be reunited?

I don't know, man. I don't know. Like, I love to think that there's going to be some kind of cathartic climactic battle—where Nymeria brings her army of stealthy mega-wolves and Arya brings her [REDACTED] from across the Narrow Sea and everyone high-fives and defeats the White Walkers and also SYRIO FOREL COMES BACK TO LIFE—but I'm not holding my breath. You just can't trust GRRM to satisfy your primal yearnings about The Way Things Should Turn Out—dude is hella sparing with the poetic justice. He doesn't go out of his way to reward the good people and punish the bad people, no matter how much you want him to. CURSE YOU, GRRM!
How do I keep from blurting out major spoilers at my viewing party this weekend?
I have no idea. I'm planning to watch it alone in my dark bedroom all glow-wormed up in a down comforter like a feathery taco made of overexcited living meat. So.
Exactly how much does Strong Belwas love locusts/how tiny is his vest?
Add your own questions and answers and angry corrections in the comments! (This mostly came out of my memory-hole, and it's been forever since I finished A Dance with Dragons, so it's possible I douched a few details. Forgive me.) Happy watching!

Organ of knowledge

“To be a poet is to have a soul so quick to discern, that no shade of quality escapes it, and so quick to feel, that discernment is but a hand playing with finely-ordered variety on the chords of emotion--a soul in which knowledge passes instantaneously into feeling, and feeling flashes back as a new organ of knowledge.” -Eliot

“The difficult task of knowing another soul is not for young gentlemen whose consciousness is chiefly made up of their own wishes.”

“But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs.” -George Eliot, Middlemarch


“We mortals, men and women, devour many a disappointment between breakfast and dinner-time; keep back the tears and look a little pale about the lips, and in answer to inquiries say, 'Oh, nothing!' Pride helps; and pride is not a bad thing when it only urges us to hide our hurts -- not to hurt others.” 


I just spent a half hour attempting to narrow down my favorite photos of Chris Corner. The results are below.

28 days until...

Sunday, March 24, 2013


"Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak 
knits up the o-er wrought heart and bids it break." -Macbeth

"The weight of this sad time we must obey;
Speak what we feel, not what we ought to say.
The oldest hath borne most: we that are young
Shall never see so much..." -King  Lear

Sunday, March 17, 2013

My soul does not reply.

the sun only grazes the earth obliquely, and the slow alternation of light and darkness suppresses variety and 
increases monotony, that half-nothingness. There we shall be able to take long baths of darkness, while for our 
amusement the aurora borealis shall send us its rose-coloured rays that are like the reflection of Hell's own 
At last my soul explodes, and wisely cries out to me: 'No matter where! No matter where! As long as it's out 
of the world!'" -Baudelaire

"Am I romantic? I've see Wuthering Height ten times. I'm a romantic." -Johnny Depp

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Benedict Cumberbatch sings in Neverwhere

"If ever thou gavest hosen or shoon,
Then every night and all,
Sit thee down and put them on;
And Christ receive thy soul.
This aye night, this aye night,
Every night and all.
Fire and fleet and candle-leet,
And Christ receive thy soul.
If ever thou gavest meat or drink,
Then every night and all,
The fire shall make thee shriek;
And Christ receive thy soul."

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

"I'm lying in the ocean singing your song"

I used to dance/teach for this company.  I can't even talk about how proud I am of them.  Oh my god.

Nullius in Verba

"I wrote a novel with seventeen characters-- all of them were you." -Peregrine


"Mr. Darwin's long-standing and well-earned scientific eminence probably renders him indifferent to that social notoriety which passes by the name of success; but if the calm spirit of the philosopher have not yet wholly superseded the ambition and the vanity of the carnal man within him, he must be well satisfied with the results of his venture in publishing the "Origin of Species." Overflowing the narrow bounds of purely scientific circles, the "species question" divides with Italy and the Volunteers the attention of general society. Everybody has read Mr. Darwin's book, or, at least, has given an opinion upon its merits or demerits; pietists, whether lay or ecclesiastic, decry it with the mild railing which sounds so charitable; bigots denounce it with ignorant invective; old ladies of both sexes consider it a [23] decidedly dangerous book, and even savants, who have no better mud to throw, quote antiquated writers to show that its author is no better than an ape himself; while every philosophical thinker hails it as a veritable Whitworth gun in the armoury of liberalism; and all competent naturalists and physiologists, whatever their opinions as to the ultimate fate of the doctrines put forth, acknowledge that the work in which they are embodied is a solid contribution to knowledge and inaugurates a new epoch in natural history...

Who shall number the patient and earnest seekers after truth, from the days of Galileo until now, whose lives have been embittered and their good name blasted by the mistaken zeal of Bibliolaters? Who shall count the host of weaker men whose sense of truth has been destroyed in the effort to harmonise impossibilities–whose life has been wasted in the attempt to force the generous new wine of Science into the old bottles of Judaism, compelled by the outcry of the same strong party?

It is true that if philosophers have suffered, their cause has been amply avenged. Extinguished theologians lie about the cradle of every science as the strangled snakes beside that of Hercules; and history records that whenever science and orthodoxy have been fairly opposed, the latter has been forced to retire from the lists, bleeding and crushed if not annihilated; scotched, if not slain. But orthodoxy is the Bourbon of the world of thought. It learns not, neither can it forget; and though, at present, bewildered and afraid to move, it is as willing as ever to insist that the first chapter of Genesis contains the beginning and the end of sound science; and to visit, with such petty [53] thunderbolts as its half-paralysed hands can hurl, those who refuse to degrade Nature to the level of primitive Judaism."

-The T.H. Huxley File 

The more I observe you, the sicker your memory becomes

If only we could fortress ourselves against the lies people show us how to believe.  

At least for me. 
I've fashioned a lifetime around partners who are what I want them to be, not who they actually are.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Genetic Testing

To buttress his argument, the petitioner, with the support of amicus, points to grave risks that may be generated by research endeavors such as respondent's. The briefs present a gruesome parade of horribles. Scientists, among them Nobel laureates, are quoted suggesting that genetic research may pose a serious threat to the human race, or, at the very least, that the dangers are far too substantial to permit such research to proceed apace at this time. We are told that genetic research and related technological developments may spread pollution and disease, that it may result in a loss of genetic diversity, and that its practice may tend to depreciate the value of human life. These arguments are forcefully, even passionately, presented; they remind us that, at times, human ingenuity seems unable to control fully the forces it creates - that, with Hamlet, it is sometimes better "to bear those ills we have than fly to others that we know not of."

-The Chakrabarty Case 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Terrence Malick is about to blow my mind again it seems.

A few years ago at this time

during Spring Break, I read The Monk.  Now it seems they are making it into a movie with Vincent freaking Cassel.  Regardless of the fact that it is probably going to be average (I'm not sure how you could turn a book with as many outrageous layers into a proper film), I will totally be watching this posthaste.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Emma Watson has a brother and he looks like this:

I'm going to need a medic.

Marina Abramovic and Ulay

Marina Abramovic and Ulay started an intense love story in the 70s, performing art out of the van they lived in. When they felt the relationship had run its course, they decided to walk the Great Wall of China, each from one end, meeting for one last big hug in the middle and never seeing each other again.
At her 2010 MoMa retrospective Marina performed ‘The Artist Is Present’ as part of the show, where she shared a minute of silence with each stranger who sat in front of her. Ulay arrived without her knowing and this is what happened.


Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre

“I do not think, sir, you have any right to command me, merely because you are older than I, 

or because you have seen more of the world than I have;

 your claim to superiority depends on the use you have made of your time and experience.” 


Afterward, she wants him 
to comb her hair with his fingers. 
He enters her with his hand 
and slips his fingers in 
between the skin of her neck 
and the fall of her hair, 
and he sifts her slowly, 
again and again and again,
like the surf sifts the sand.

“It is with the soul that we grasp the essence of another human being, not with the mind, nor even with the heart.”

“To have her here in bed with me, breathing on me, her hair in my mouth—I count that something of a miracle.” -Henry Miller

"Words are loneliness."

“She rises up out of a sea of faces and embraces me, embraces me passionately--- a thousand eyes, noses, fingers, legs, bottles, windows, purses, saucers all glaring at us an we in each other's arm oblivious. I sit down beside her and she talks--- a flood of talk. Wild consumptive notes of hysteria, perversion, leprosy. I hear not a word because she is beautiful and I love her and now I am happy and willing to die.” -Miller

I'm going to see "The Glass Menagerie" tonight after thinking I'd been thwarted forever.

“Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant."

-Henry Miller