Tag Archives: women

Tidings from Hebdomad.

6 Jul

Hebdomad, some of you will remember, is the blog I run on firstpost. It ostensibly belongs to one Ramachandran, and is doing reasonably well, thank you for asking. Neil Gaiman tweeted a post about his vampire sestina, which brought a skip to one’s step and a hum to one’s stats. He ignored, perhaps out of modesty, another fawning post about Sandman (his and E.T.A Hoffman’s). He was even gracious enough not to point out his sundry vampire-fic. Thankfully, comments folks were less restrained, and I’ve liblisted The Graveyard Book and reread ‘Snow, Glass, Apples’ (I realised half way that I had it confused with ‘Lady of the House of Love’, which is either a great compliment or a terribly trite comparison.)

All the gaiman geekdom, anyway, earned me the gig. Hebdomad lives, and the most recent post remembered the spirit of Michael Kelly, whom I debated across the writing of Chaosbogey’s Politics last year. I spent a week with the blues ladies, mourning Janis and Billie Holiday. The parent, beloved reader, assures me I ‘broke’ the Indian slutwalk story by writing it up in the early days of twitter hysteria.  Most of bogeydom will agree (all you lonely victims of my assorted rambles) that fashion isn’t my forte. To write said trailblazer, thus, I prudently chose silence and dipped into Dorothy Sayers. A few days later, on 13th June, I celebrated her birthday, and was vastly entertained to find she shared it with Yeats. And so we are led into a poem.

Time drops in decay

like a candle burnt out

and the mountains and the woods

have their day, have their day

what one in the rout

of the fire-born moods

has fallen away?

Tisn’t as happy a poem as I’d have liked. (‘A Coat‘)  Fitting, though, given the fate of slutwalk, a debate from which I’ve finally walked away. Or so I declared on bookslut, which is as good as any virgin’s oath. There is, I will admit, a post waiting in the wings should the blessed event come to pass, failing which it will go up on July 25th. Then I’m done, if only because scores of women have said everything I need to say, and done so far better than I ever could. For a sampling, here is Annie Zaidi, or Kuzhali Manickavel, or Nisha SusanKatha Pollitt wrote an eloquent (and global) love letter to the movement, giving it much needed Serious Feminist Cred. Also, since I quote from it so liberally in the ‘slut essay, this be the rest of Adrienne Rich’s poem:

The light of outrage is the light of history

springing upon us when we’re least prepared

thinking maybe a little glade of time

leaf thick and with clear water

is ours, promised us, for all we’ve hacked

and tracked our way through: to this:

What will it be? Your wish or mine? your

prayers or my wish then: that those we love

be well, whatever that means, to be well.

Outrage: who dare protection for their own

amid such unprotection? What kind of prayer

is that? To what kind of god? What kind of wish?

— Through Corralitos under Rolls of Cloud, IV.

That is that as far as news goes (oh wait, I moaned about my nose). This Saturday, I shall be doing a Peake centenary post, so do keep an eye out for some amusing verse.  Now, because this is bogey and I love you all so, I shall inflict upon you an ‘exclusive’ from the failed experiments of my writing life. The.. bile that follows was written in an aborted attempt at understanding economics as I was reading “The Relentless Revolution”. It is also why the first draft of that review concluded with this immortal line: ‘it is the purpose of histories to differentiate between porsches and potatoes.’ So now you know.

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why I sing my blues

27 May

Is the title of an article I wrote for Global Comment. It was about Saas-Bahu soaps, and I tried to be amusing rather than acidic.  I might have failed.  Go judge for yourselves?  Yes, the title was inspired by a BB King song. I like him. A lot. No one’s perfect, so deal with it, ok?

It has been a while, though, since we had a pilfered poetry post on this here bogey, so I figured I would indulge us all and keep silent. A few words in credit: all the poetry that follows is from Annie Zaidi’s book Crush, which has helped me through many an unrequited time. I have imposed my own order on the verse, as I do each time I read this deft little book. I have read it backwards, forwards, sideways and with every random pattern I can generate and every single time it has found for me a story. I love that her language is simple and swift, that all the genius is in the way words are used, that if you don’t listen closely you might miss something until the next time you visit the lines. In the first verse below, for instance, how much she captures with such a basic pun!  But I am not a poetry critic and shall never attempt such a rarified art.  I love Crush almost more than I loved Known Turf. #‘nuffsaid

(More ‘Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens’ illustrations at BibliOdyssey, here)

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The Mantle of the Vicious Bitch

8 Mar

I’ve been in television hibernation this past month, and it took the centenary of women’s day to draw me out. I’ve always been iffy on the subject of women’s day — why, precisely, are we celebrating half of humanity? I guess any publicity- look, we exist- is better than none.

Here I am. Watch me exult.

The excuse for my telly fest (which concluded last week) was my contribution to Popmatters’ Whedon retrospective, which will go up later this month on bogey. The inspiration for my little rant below was Darla, that first modern working girl.  For a feminist writer, Whedon is uniformly unkind in doling out her fate, though perhaps after 500 years of killing she was due some dying. Multiple times, even.  Darla, Angel’s sire,  is the vampire we meet in the first scene of Buffy. Dusted by Angel in season one, she is revived by Wolfram and Hart three years later, tormented in assorted ways (including one ill-fated pregnancy) until she finally kills herself. Amazing how often that happens in Angel: women sacrificing self for spawn. Though I guess Illyria is not, strictly speaking, spawn.

My title, for whedon-trivia, is borrowed off Cordy, from my favourite Angel episode. This would be Billy, in which Lilah kills her misogynist client. What can I say? Lilah’s got me on my knees. Remember when she gives Wesley The Divine Comedy before he goes all dark and they get all horny? In the original Tuscan, too, so classy and clever, which almost made me want to be a lawyer again.

Billy, though, is in close competition with Guise will be Guise, where Wesley impersonates Angel while the original and a fake swami have the following conversation:

Magev:  “You’re deeply ambivalent.”
Angel:  “Yeah, well, I am and I’m not.”
Magev:  “You need to get over her. – Okay, what does she [Darla] look like?”
Angel:  “She’s beautiful. – Small, blonde…”
Magev:  “Right.  So here’s what you do.  You go out and find yourself some small, blonde thing.  You bed her, you love her, you treat her like crap, you break her heart.  You and your inner demon will thank me, I promise.”

 

 

And, in spirit with these serendipitous times, a poem I found on Spaniard in the Works,

 

Chewing slowly,

Only after I’d eaten

My grandmother,

Mother,

Son-in-law,

Two brothers-in-law,

And father-in-law

(His big family included)

In that order,

And had for dessert

The town’s inhabitants,

 

Did I find, says Kabir,

The beloved that I’ve become

One with

 

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Lady Dragon.

10 Oct

This is the second of the mylaw.net articles on the American midterms. As usual, please head thither for links to the articles on which my analysis is based- I do believe in credit, but setting up two sets of hyperlinks is my idea of too much work. Unless I have directly quoted from the article, or otherwise think you cannot live without reading it, I have omitted the reference in this version of the essay.

I’m still glad I supported Obama over Hillary Clinton. If Hillary had won the election, every single day would be a festival of misogyny. We would hear constantly about her voice, her laugh, her wrinkles, her marriage and what a heartless, evil bitch she is for doing something – whatever! – men have done since the Stone Age. Each week would bring its quotient of pieces by fancy women writers explaining why they were right not to have liked her in the first place. Liberal pundits would blame her for discouraging the armies of hope and change, for bringing back the same-old same-old cronies and advisers, for letting healthcare reform get bogged down in inside deals, for failing to get out of Iraq and Afghanistan – which would be attributed to her being a woman and needing to show toughness – for cozying up to Wall Street, deferring to the Republicans and ignoring the cries of the people. In other words, for doing pretty much what Obama is doing. This way I get to think, Whew, at least you can’t blame this on a woman.

Whatever Happened to Candidate Obama? Katha Pollitt.

One day in 2008, we all woke up to the news that the long-suffering Hilary Clinton was capable of such gymnastics as public weeping. I am not now, and I certainly was not then, a news junkie. All the flap about Obama had passed me by entirely: wasn’t he the guy who declared his desire for the presidency on a talk show? I had assumed that Clinton was a shoo-in for the Democratic nomination, that she would probably win, and the world would trundle on heedless. Washington is united when it comes to ‘security’ wonks: Blackwater, for instance, was defended by a firm run by Clinton strategist Mark Penn. In the corner of the globe that most of us inhabit, that simple truth is often all that matters.

Yet here she was, whimpering, and the election was close to a year away. India’s Indira and Germany’s Angela, it appeared, didn’t translate into America’s Hillary.

That was the day I swallowed my pride and sought education from sundry politics nerds: the mystifying distinction between primaries and caucuses, conventions and their delegations; and how, exactly, did colleges get to elect the president of a country? Most began with an admirably concise answer to the first question: they’re both dogfights for the nomination. Unfortunately, I was then at the height of my elections-are-gimmicks-and-circuses phase (which I am yet to fully recover from); and there was the predictable flame-out before the conversation could turn to other foundations of American Civics 101. The profusion of talking heads obsessed with Ms. Clinton did, however, get me interested in the interplay between feminism and electoral politics: what, really, is the price worth paying for a woman in power?

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Robbing Women and Robing Brides

31 Jul

I was miserably sick this past week, for those of you who noticed the blog silence. Antibiotics are being consumed, the appetite is yet to revive, but migraines and blistered eyes no longer conspire to keep the laptop and I at odds. I even read a book last night and it wasn’t shady bed reading. Ok, so that lasted only for an hour before I abandoned it for the pleasures of Diana Wynne Jones, but one of the few joys of sickness is the amount of slush one is permitted to consume.

This is a tentative step back into the daily grind of political comment (however tangential) because I could no longer bear the whine of my stats chart as it plummeted to numbers it hadn’t seen since the early days of june . A friend forwarded me this excellent article, and it reminded me of another essay I was once called upon to present in class. Yet another nostalgia post, this one.

The Robing of the Bride, Max Ernst.

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