christmas brain food.

I had a terrific Christmas. Once everyone is gone and there is no longer any pressure to be a "happy family," I realize that I am indeed part of a relatively happy family and enjoyed my day. The day itself always feels anticlimactic and emotionally draining. I really enjoyed seeing my Dad for the first time in a long time. He was really really nice which made me feel guilty about the prior post and my general bitterness. People surprise me, sometimes. My favourite presents: the Sartorialist book, "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer - which I read in a few hours and want to read again - and the origami crane my sister made for me. Here is a portion of an essay I just wrote that I am incredibly pleased with. On Whitman and Heidegger's "Thinker as Poet" and of course I had to throw some Lacan in there:

Whitman's manic desire to consume and be consumed by everything - and his inability to achieve either - exemplifies Heidegger's quote: "Thinking’s saying would be stilled in its being only by becoming unable to say that which must remain unspoken" (Thinker as Poet). Part of the function of language is to play within and expose its own limitations. Language does not only function superficially as self-contained and transparent, but also in relation to this limit or its ability to expose this limit. Formal experimentation is one strategy of playing with and around the inability of language while simultaneously exposing the lack underlying what is made visible. The malleability of poetry in particular draws attention to this semiotic and material limit. That which visibly manifests itself is also the symptom of a residue, of something that cannot be expressed in language. For Heidegger, "What is spoken is never, and in no/language, what is said" (Thinker as Poet). A similar thought is expressed in Whitman: "Lack one lacks both, and the unseen is proved by the seen,/Till that becomes unseen and receives proof in its turn" (Whitman 22-23). Thus, what is said includes the content of the language as well as what is lacking in the language; Leaves of Grass performs this relation and the inability of language. This discourse reveals the limit of the language (what is lacking, what remains unspoken because it is untranslatable) in dialectical relation to the words used and the relationship to the speaker as creator and conduit of 'Being.' What is seen (the content communicated) emphasizes the absence of the unseen (that which necessarily underlies what is visibly and materially taking place). The inability of language to succinctly express experience and realize this desire results in a struggle with and against this limit; therefore, the subject matter of the poem is not only what is said but the issue at stake in saying or not saying, and the problems of language as a system of representation. This reality motivates Heidegger's statement that "such inability would bring thinking/face to face with its matter" (Thinker as Poet). Thinking is a process that struggles to explicate itself through saying; however, the subject of thought cannot be confronted directly, in language. The best and only strategy for negotiating this problematic is to play within the limits of the language itself in order to expose the contradiction inherent in the process of thought and its communication. Thus, Leaves of Grass succeeds because it communicates the vitality of life while sustaining the contradictions inherent in the process of channeling thought into language.

Lacan's distinction between the symbolic and the imaginary realms exposes the function and 'inability' of language within Whitman's poetry. The Lacanian reading reveals the misrecognition that occurs through linguistic expression. Whitman's desire is expressed in language that cannot grasp what he desires and how he desires. Explication of desire in language results in a hierarchical systematization of that desire which results in the subsequent annihilation of that desire. Desire fails when it is [mis]recognized, and thus the untranslatable essence of Whitman's experience - the component that underlies what is communicated - must remain unspoken in order to for the 'Being' of the poem to be realized. This process reveals that desire itself is structured; desire is not free of form. If, according to Lacan, "the unconscious is structured like a language," desire too is structured like a language, but is not a language and cannot be explicated via language. This desire "is without name - it is a word unsaid,/It is not in any dictionary, utterance, symbol" (Whitman 68). Whitman swings between a desire to consume and a desire to release (sensually but also within language and the construct of the poem) because he recognizes that desire is extinguished through explication. This is one reason why Whitman advises against "tak[ing] things at second or third hand...looking through the eyes of the dead...[and] feeding on the spectres in books" (Whitman 22). His attempts to mediate his desire through verse to the reader necessarily fails. This is the "paradox of desire at its purest: in order to sustain itself as desire, to articulate itself (in a song), a piece must be missing" (Zizek xviii).


I feel ridiculous, my head has been swimming and murky for the past week. I want to have electric-shock-underwater-half-asleep-when-you-crawl-into-bed-with-me-early-in-the-morning sex after I (exhausted and half naked) curl up and doze off to the sound of you and your stoned friends murmuring delightful things in your well designed living room painted neutral colours. You and your chocolate stout. You and your extremely long fingers. I'm nervous to see/talk to my Dad and his wife for the first time in a while. I am afraid. I feel afraid around my family because I know that nothing I say would even crack a hole in their shrink-wrapped shell minds incubated in religious juices. Religion works so well, it sucks up everything like a vaccuum, all doubt condemned, everything soaked up and churned out and half-digested. Syrupy faith. You can't reason with faith, which makes it very powerful and stupid. I am so absent from everything except my body. It keeps producing things and moving along streets and I'm watching it with a stupid fucking grin, feeling like a brain-in-vat staring dumb faced at my own flesh that is unwilling - incapable - of not moving. I'm tricking everyone! No one knows that I am so incredibly removed from myself and others. Sometimes when we fuck I look down at my body moving and I am impressed. I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay. Write, write, repair. Know your language, know your neighbours. I want writing just for me. I want hard copies of everything. I am afraid of losing or wanting to lose because that's easier. I want paper cuts and ink stains and callouses on the inside of the ring finger on my right hand. I want you to suck the blood from my paper cuts and read me the 'Grand Inquisitor' when I'm leaned against the wall and you are deep in and the street-lamp-light filtered through blinds cuts up your hard, angular body. Condemn me. I feel close to you and only you.

*I forgot to credit these:
the first is Francis Bacon, the second is an unknown source re-posted from another blog (and I don't remember, I'm sorry).


One fun thing I like about working at the library is finding scraps of paper and peoples private lives in books; inscriptions, lists, notes in the margin. I have been collecting "found papers" since I was 14. I have a binder, a box, and a notebook full of other peoples random trash. I don't know why I find it so interesting. Tonight's lists:

quit sdtt
alone time
quit gf
more alone time/cry
gain confidence
work out
stand up to family
find yourself
get priorities/goals

the only thing with a check mark beside it is the first item.
this one makes me feel that everyone everywhere is exactly the same and want the same things when they think no one is reading. and to put "find yourself" on a to-do list is ridiculous, stupid, charming, sad and lovely.
i don't know what sdtt is.

pity/fear - green
catharsis - green
hero - yellow
ontology - blue
truth - red


memory paint by numbers

Yeah, yes, indeed.
Insert colour.
I just wrote this nostalgic and highly self-indulgent thing that I like inspired by this ridiculous piece of writing I found in one of my notebooks from five years ago. I happily roll around in memories, snug as shit.
Who gives a fuck. There is logic but its not clever.
My best people are visiting for Christmas. I'm excited.
I can't stop listening to "Make Love that Lasts" by Karl Blau, its such a fantastically happy song with snarky lyrics.
I'm super excited but I'm not sure what about.

cucumber melon candles
jeans rolled mid-calf
peanut butter sandwiches and coke
tosca goldfrapp jazzanova
you narrowly missed the paintbrush but I can deep throat

nag champa and the annex in autumn
torn up cargos and propagandhi t-shirts
eggs benedict and pad thai
walks/locked up guitar/masturbation
elliott buckley loveless
i came in through the bathroom window/why did you break the glass

cigarettes and soapy dishwater, weed
ill-fitting leather jackets
alfredo pasta and gravy
talk it out and fuck, gently
chili peppers pink floyd and other mediocrities
what the fuck did you do to the closet door

semen and sweat
green plaid shirt and brown polyester
blt with red onion
yell insult throw fuck carpet burn
of montreal captain beefheart pavement

blueberry muffins
hair. 90's. dad's leather jacket
rice and salmon
sullen silent treatment
neil young jeff tweedy the boss
leave, now, anticlimax, side 2

sweat, skin, water
paint and scrubs
gnocchi with scissors
draw escape retract cold as fuck
tom waits nina simone

art is here.


Sources of inspiration this week.

All night dreaming of a body
space weighs on differently from mine
We are making love in the street
the traffic flows off from us
pouring back like a sheet
the asphalt stirs with tenderness
there is no dismay
we move together like underwater plants

Over and over, starting to wake
I dive back to discover you
still whispering,
touch me, we go on
streaming through the slow
citylight forest ocean
stirring our body hair

But this is the saying of a dream
on waking
I wish there were somewhere
actual we could stand
handing the power-glasses back and forth
looking at the earth, the wildwood
where the split began

from "Waking in the Dark" by Adrienne Rich

Sanne Sannes

I cannot explain the action of leveling,
Why it should all boil down to one
Uniform substance, a magma of interiors.
My guide in these matters is your self,
Firm, oblique, accepting everything with the same
Wraith of a smile, and as time speeds up so that it is soon
Much later, I can know only the straight way out,
The distance between us.

from "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror" by John Ashbery

...more typewriters...Cormac McCarthy, Don DeLillo, Will Self.

I'm really tired and cranky. We're reading Moby-Dick for my Literature & Philosophy course. I thought it was going to be one of those books that are excruciatingly painful to get through, but its actually been a really fun read. It reminds me of being a kid and reading adventure novels 10 hours straight in my backyard during the summer.

I now have two jobs, plus my poetry editing job which will kick back into the forefront around January. Plus end-of-semester papers and 4 grad school applications to pump out. I want this month to be over and I want a day to write and drink tea and lounge around with my cats. I also want to stop whining, because my life is pretty damn good.


unattainable x-mas wish-list.

Vintage typewriter. This is Hemingway's old Royal.


Babuskha dolls.

Schiele prints.

New Zizek.

This broad's cigarette holder/life.

Think think think think.

Still wet around the edges, you enter the subway station. Pavement saturated-blue. The day is still heavy with moisture. Recesses are not the same as alcoves. Mirrors are not the same as windows. Street chaos is accompanied by loud music. One strand of your hair tucked into the folds of my scarf. Most parts of your body are long and angular. Loose threads against my face startle. Text messages rolled back and forth. "Again and again there comes a time in history when a man who dares to say that two and two make four is punished with death. And the question is not one of knowing what punishment or reward attends the making of this calculation. The question is that of knowing whether two and two do make four." (That is Camus, it is important to cite your sources, that way you know I am well-read and form connections, that way, you can say: "yes") I am ashamed.
The exhalation when we braced ourselves for the waves. The sour gulp inward, the sting at the back of the throat. Panicked re-emergence. The sand gathered in the crotch of your fluorescent bathing suit. Dead seagulls with their eyes picked out, half buried. Cold nipples at dusk. Fish skeletons draped against driftwood delicate like nail clippings. Back and forth. Can I enjoy poetry without exegesis. Can I enjoy your body with my eyes closed. Can I lick your inner thighs?
The man in a well-tailored tweed suit lowers his paper looks up and licks his left thumb. People's reflections are looking at your reflection in the black train windows. Back and forth.
I can't resist syllogisms, I can resist. Back and forth.


sleep and sleep and sleep.

yikes. whiskey drunk. angry at new people. new gossip, the same old patterns of my past repeated in other faces equally forgettable. language poets. silliman. bits of Whitman. conflict-resolution. not wanting to relinquish the signified. the fascination with the signifier reflects historical materialism, which, as a metaphor, is a contradiction. existentialism overview. ayer intercepting tyson via naomi watts. blisters on three fingers from burns on different days. imagining professors sleeping, shaving, feeding children, straightening ties; the face softens or hardens in routine. early morning subway ennui. needing your body when i least expect it. I intercepting objectivity, intercepting the fatigue of the signifier. a warm plate of onion rings balanced on my thighs. broken glass in four places. the grand inquisitor. stale glasses of lukewarm water to dip fingers into. leaving pill bottles untouched. periphery. circumference. social anxiety disorder. waning flirtations. would you name your child fyodor. defamiliarization is the birth of love. stray hairs on water-stained wine glasses. social interaction as self-discipline. loss of blood flow in bent legs. catching your eyes on her. dream machine. dylan's face is in his hands. tom waits is on the subway. language is a performance. i want your brain to explode all over me.


Love this. Burroughs and his cats.

sorry in advance.

November does good/bad things for me. Something shifts and my perspective is re-oriented. Consistently over the past five years my motivation to do school completely diminishes at this time. I have zero motivation to read philosophy or wrestle with issues in papers right now. And I don't really care about it either. Bad timing, though. Keeping things in perspective is good. Sometimes I realize that regardless of what I do to fuck up my life, even if I went on hiatus for a month or so, nothing would be ruined in the slightest, any damage due to dismissed papers, missed classes, forgotten phone calls can be undone pretty quickly. Recognizing the great insignificance of my life and problems is very liberating.
New lovers are so fun, everything dims except that. Just when I think I'm getting too jaded about people I meet someone who is easy to get along with, comfortable as fuck, and generally on my wavelength. So fucking refreshing. My inability to concentrate is probably a result of good vibe endorphins that make me feel like dancing or fucking at all times. I pretty much want sex all the time but the dancing is a new development. Its more like a pent up physical energy that usually expresses itself in one of those two outlets.
I really like this photographer, found via Garance. His site is here. His photos incite wanderlust and that wonderful feeling in the pit of my stomach in response to beautiful things found on screens, through headphones, behind windows or in my hands. I really like the latest post at Ani Smith's blog, I really like Ani Smith in general, I really like this photo of Alain Delon, I really like the new the Big Pink album. Here is a poem at read some words that I wrote a long time ago, I like it, although I think it is very simple, which is not necessarily a bad thing but I feel self-conscious.

I really really want to live in that house. Serious. When I was a kid I used to write super long stories and epic naive love stories about people living in abandoned houses on misty cliffs against water. I like reading those stories, I nod in agreement and approval of my former self. I drew portraits of the characters to go along with the narrative, and, later, I drew floorplans and detailed interiors of the houses I described. There are certain themes and images that still hit me in the same ways. Which makes me feel a sense of continuity of self, a uniformity- recognizing similarities between my 10-year-old self and now. I wonder why certain images stick with certain people. As in, what is the root of that influence, the tugging that happens when different people see different images with a particular vibe. I wonder if its connected to dreams at all. I wonder if its genetic . If I asked my sister, 'do you feel this way when you look at this' I wonder if she would understand at all. I know she wouldn't.

I love love love the texture and the colours in this photograph. Sometimes I save photos to my computer not because of content or composition but just because of the colour combinations.


Halloween nostalgia.

These are my favourite Halloween pictures. The first is classic and pretty much tells you everything you need to know about me and my brother. My brother is currently politically-conservative quasi-religious and in the army. I'm the crazy one consistently in disarray. Of course for the yearly Halloween parade I was wearing a skin-coloured top underneath my flashy purple shells. I can still - I kid you not - recite the lyrics from every song in the Little Mermaid. The second is epic on all levels. Strangely, my sister dressed like a princess that year (highly uncharacteristic of her, she was a menace). My brother is a fighter pilot. I am...so awesome. Pretty much every other year I dressed up as Princess Leia; unfortunately, I couldn't find any pictures.


So I'm back in suburbia again. It is raining really hard, permanently overcast, chilly and damp, but the entire back yard is covered in bright yellow leaves and the ivy against the butter-coloured brick has turned golden orange. I would rather spend this weekend drinking beer with my brother than in Toronto watching half-clothed drunk people do stupid things that make them feel interesting and 'alt.' I'm going to hand out candy to rich suburban kids. Any excuse to indulge in nostalgia is taken. I'm not in a very good place mentally. I feel like something is rotting in my chest (and no, not my lungs, thanks) and like my brain is floating around in my skull, untethered. Such is anxiety. Most of my anxiety stems from changes that have to happen in the next month. The antipation of realizing this and the fear of having to make such changes happen. Anticipatory anxiety results in heavy and paralyzing inertia, which is why I've been sleeping 16 hours a day and loading up on carbs and tea. Fear is paralyzing and the paradox is that if I just moved, if I just got shit done, I'd feel a lot less anxious. I need someone to push me out of this space, I don't feel very strong. Then again, my moods change so often and in such extreme directions, I may feel amazing tomorrow.
On the agenda for today - -
blueberries and pineapple cashew chicken
Kant, metaphysics of morals
some Parfit essays
hot chocolate and home-made carrot cake
musical accompianment by Girls Real Estate Flaming Lips Zola Jesus
Silence of the Lambs @ 9

bubble bath with Brothers K.
good things :)


Some shaky first drafts.

grimy first moves, bones drawn to bone
friction against skin shedding itself

cocoon bodies pushed out of their private darkness,
corrupting forms too material for
sighs that sway up into the overhead light
singed on bulbs like moths crowded in the dusty glass
lacking legs and single wings:
torn up asymmetrical shadows of sounds and failing bodies.

Artificial flame draws me into that rain-soaked space
between a rock and a hard place.
steady suction lubricated fingers slippery and
mouth moves like an angry epileptic body open against
ambiguous mattress-stains and smoke-smell pillows
eyes roll back into skin pockets
flushed milky white, sheathed in moisture.
dirty flecks of yesterday's mascara
float like insects in the corners of your
sealed eyes.

tequila-skin and another man's sweat
darken your profile

thick full lips stained october-cloud-purple
sloppy wine mouth stains chin blood red
mop your face playfully, too self-conscious
the glass delicate and water-stained:
I'm fingering the stem and licking my lips.

shrink-wrapped body contained to
save energy, keep the freshness in and
tongue pieces fluorescent
like that space behind your ear,
each touch a more intense
invitation to infection

strange strong hands have a pulse
that echoes in organs, I can see the outline of your body
and its place in a sprawling soupy city
impervious to rain


The final act is an awkward look-away
dress rehearsal for the big
anti climax, poorly lit. And I can barely hear your voice on the phone.
the amputation swift, one fell swoop before the crash and
no one hears the tree fall in the forest, either.

Each lover a bandage placed over the scar left from the last
scab ripped off with the wrapping,
negligence sting-proof tingling wound that grows,

Wiping your semen from my browned belly,
eyes sway with guilt like you've stabbed, not loved.
"you can't leave like that, sudden"
removal a shock too loud
the lid of a sealed jar popped open with force
a seal peeled off a closed envelope,
my contents exposed for consumption.
cover me.
panic pulls shame out of me
(but i need love, i need this)

before retreat you stuck it out,
curled back between swollen breasts
now wet with fluids that
smear and suck into belly buttons,
into the curved skin boat
of upper thigh.

you are hard and seamless
you never leak when held up to light.
turn me upside down,
test my contours.
taste me, I am leaking quietly.


Oh and 2 things.
I got rid of comments, it makes me feel less self-conscious about writing whatever I want. I still want to talk to you if you have anything to say, so email me.
I like the way my skin smells when I wake up after a night in a club. Perfume mixed with my skin, my pheromones, other peoples pheromones (and by that I mean sweat) tequila, the city. Gross, I know, but I feel really great in my body after a night out meeting and talking and dancing.


Here’s another essay on film that no one will read.
This will spoil the movie if you haven’t seen it and want to in the future. Some things are best left as surprises.

Antichrist is a very powerful movie. Trier is trying to tackle and critique issues of misogyny and gynocide but he does so in a way that is…misogynistic. This puts me on edge and I’m not sure if these tensions can be reconciled - but that’s part of the strange beauty and insanity of the film. On one hand, Trier is criticizing the ways that women have been historically and ideologically damaged by patriarchy, particularly through male conceptualizations of women over time. Ironically though, the female character is portrayed as each and every one of these archetypes of femininity – she is pure corporeal body, catalyst for sin, irrational, instinctual, primal, hysterical – and Trier chooses to enforce these constructed visions of Woman rather than develop an alternative vision of femininity that could in some way, emancipate ‘Eve’ from this pigeon-holed male vision. She is active but only in a destructive way. Lier admits, yes, women have been wronged. But the response of this female character is to engage with her victimhood, to revel in it, to choose an active role only in a destructive capacity. And the act of self-mutilation is not an affirmation of powerful femininity – it is emancipatory, but its not emancipation from the cycle of victimization – it’s a sad acceptance (on the part of the character) that she is indeed only what ‘Man’ has told her she is, that she is indeed evil – and the act of self-mutilation is an attempt to free herself of femininity in all its forms, but particularly, that one component of femininity not capable of appropriation within phallocentric discourses – the woman as capable of pleasure, of choice. Strangely, she never castrates her husband, but she does castrate herself. This is a strange reversal that puts ‘Woman’ in an active role only so that she can deny any opportunity for active and autonomous femininity. It is also interesting that the mutilation does not prevent her fertility; she is still capable of sex and pregnancy and birth; only her capacity for orgasm, only her capacity for sexual pleasure is removed, by choice. So in this sense, without a clitoris, she better conforms to the idealized, stereotype of Woman as a vessel for male desire, without any opportunity for jouissance, except through the male phallus. The self-castration is a symbolic removal of that element of Woman that slides between pleasure-for-self and pleasure-for-Him (as an object for birth and male pleasure). In many ways, the film engages with these issues, but it does so in a way that consistently draws our attention back to the woman as the harbinger of evil.
At the beginning of her violent rage, she rushes into the room and accuses her husband of wanting to leave her, etc, and starts to fuck him. Again, the rage is a response to her need for the man – her violence is reactionary (regardless of whether or not it is founded in anything ‘real’) and reinforces the image of the woman as dependent on the man, not only in the obvious ways, but as a catalyst for her own activity and rage.
The film is obviously critical of psychiatry and therapy as a symbol of patriarchal ratiocination. Of course, the male is conceived as the ‘voice of reason’ who must teach (ie indoctrinate) his wife on how to control her body (in this sense, her physiological anxiety symptoms, her sexual desire and her violence, in that order). The result is that rather than becoming less of an animal, she becomes increasingly less [outwardly] rational by the conclusion of the film. The irony though is that if indeed Trier is trying to criticize psychiatry, by the conclusion we realize that *ta-da* she was nuts all along. Because of this, it is difficult to sustain that critique. Her psychosis wasn’t a result of the ‘manipulative’ and ‘repressive’ pressure of psychiatry, because she was crazy beforehand. The therapy is apparently one of many factors that brought her insanity into a more public space, but it wasn’t responsible for its onset. And by the conclusion, she’s not strong (?) enough to finish the job she started. She still needs him. He must destroy her, and he does, and this is acceptable because the crazy bitch must be put in her place. This is also a symbol of the ‘Man’ ‘killing’ the ‘feminine’ component of his identity in order to sustain that rational exterior. The dichotomy of male/female must be maintained. Trier never really plays with this. The boundaries are set up really quickly and each character never really passes out of their predetermined gender space.
There is a lot to say and write about the film, but one image in particular is insane – a two-part image. The first takes place when she runs out during sex and starts to masturbate under the tree (symbolically, the tree of knowledge, of course). She gets him to hit her and only then does she take him back inside her, etc. Pan out and we see (dead) female bodies entwined within the roots of the tree, surrounding them. This is insane on many levels:
1) ‘Eve’ invites and tempts ‘Adam’ into sin (the violence)
2) He can’t resist her ‘power’ which is purely sexual and tied to her body
3) She cannot achieve pleasure on her own, she requires the phallus for any degree of jouissance (which also probably relates to her self-mutilation later, the inadequacy of the autonomous female to achieve pleasure on her own except through the male)
4) Knowledge necessitates violence and destruction – the Fall is both a fall into knowledge and suffering, the two are intertwined and involve a dialectic explored in the passive/active interplay between the male and the female – he overpowers her because she wants and asks him to overpower her (ie. who is the active/passive agent in this situation, really?).
5) The ‘fall’ – this whole patriarchal, Christian discourse is founded on the sin and the suppression of the feminine (the bodies are the ‘sacrifices’ required to support and sustain this discourse, biblically and in relation to ‘gynocide’ of the 16th century, etc). The bodies of the women are entwined within the roots of the tree of knowledge to symbolize their role as the sacrifices necessary to sustain ‘maleness.’
The female character is sacrificed for the same purpose, later. I think the final image of the hoards of women entering the forest could symbolize a bunch of different things. They are the women ‘released’ from their position in the roots of the tree/as the foundation of Christian discourse/maleness. How this emancipation makes sense in the context of the films narrative, I’m not sure, although it might be related to the killing of the original ‘Eve’ figure as a means to emancipate all women from the ‘shit Eve started.’ This would be fucked up. The fact that the hoards of women walking in the forest are clothed and walking (aka not dead) also implies that they are women liberated from their ‘sin,’ from the flesh – they are covered and ‘imaginary’ women, suggesting that women can only ever really escape their essentially evil and destructive nature by retreating into Lacan’s imaginary realm again, as idealized concepts but not real, fleshy, active Subjects. Woman as Subject is problematic for Man.

But goddamn, Willem Defoe is super hot in this film.


Sartre admitted in 1939 that he never experienced the existential nausea he wrote about. I feel cheated by this a little. I never really enjoyed Sartre as a person. I've read too much of Simone deBeauvoir's autobiographical material to respect Sartre. A combination of Camus, Kant and fucking Schopenhauer has put me in a very strange head space. I hate hate hate my dreams. Even when they are pleasant enough visually they terrify me. I was floating in the ocean and it was sunny and beautiful and despite this I continued to experience waves of panic, feeling that something foreign and larger than me and dangerous was about to brush against my legs. That's only one part of the sequence that involved lots of people I don't really want to dream about, but I do all the time. Schopenhauer is a very bleak and sad man. Everything is utterly meaningless and absurd and despite that we still possess 'will to life' that results in the fabrication of a 'bubble of illusion' - a fabricated excuse to keep our body moving, to justify reproduction. The only metaphysically respectful form of suicide (according to Schopenhaur) is starving-yourself-to-death because it involves a slow process of waning 'will to life' - when your body shuts down you enter a state of depersonalization where its possible to step outside of your body and detach from its petty concern to remain alive. No wonder I'm feeling groundless and sad. Camus is the same:
"At the heart of all beauty lies something inhuman, and these hills, the softness of the sky, the outline of these trees at this very minute lose the illusory meaning with which we had clothed them. The primitive hostility of the world rises up to face us across millennia. For a second we cease to understand it because for centuries we have understood it in solely the images and designs that we had attributed to it beforehand, because henceforth we lack the power to make use of that artifice. The world evades us because it becomes itself again. That stage scenery masked by habit becomes again what it is. It withdraws at a distance from us. Just as there are days when under the familiar face of a woman, we see as a stranger her we had loved months or years ago, perhaps we shall come even to desire what suddenly leaves us so alone."
This in particular bothers me a lot. The absurdity of seeing someone that I have touched in every way possible, that I spent hours in bed with - now as a stranger. I no longer know them and I never really did. "Knowing" people is familiarity and habituation; association. I want to shake people hard when I feel this way, scream at them, "what the fuck, this is a stupid game, I know you;" I want to sustain that illusion because it makes me feel less lonely. But instead I keep up the stupid vacuous exchange, I continue to let words spurt out of my mouth mechanically, mundane fucking shit. I can't even deal with it. The loss, but also the indifference. It's paralyzing. When I first read Freud's "Mourning and Melancholia" (which you should read, by the way) I felt "fuck yeah, I get this" but then I felt, confused, that I can never really reach that state of indifference again. I feel irreparable sometimes, in certain areas. In my seminar yesterday my professor asked: "if, according to psychology, Schopenhauer's philosophizing is the result of a chemical imbalance or psychological disorder, does that devalue what he wrote?" I guess you could ask the same of most philosophers, who, for the most part, either killed themselves or went insane (except for dudes like Sartre who were apparently faking anyways). Of course I don't think so, I am still wary of 'diagnoses.' Maybe some psychiatrists (I doubt mine would, he's become aware of my sensitivity in this area and is generally a cool dude) would probably say, yes, everything you wrote over the past few weeks has been symptomatic of your various 'disorders.' How to reconcile my identity and creativity with this, I don't know. I'm supposed to ask myself a series of questions when I feel this fucked up. "Is anything really broken?" "if you are broken, do you need to pick up the pieces" "is it possible to relinquish the struggle" These questions make me feel nauseous and silly. They feel like stock psychology questions meant to manipulate a certain response out of me. But when it comes down to it: yes, I think most people are 'broken' and yes, I think most of us, including me, try to pick up the pieces, because who the fuck enjoys feeling untethered. Who the fuck wants to feel like damaged goods. As for relinquishing the struggle, I don't really know what the fuck that even means. I don't feel that I'm struggling, I just feel depressed. There is a word for this world-weariness in German that has an untranslatable connotation in English. Weltschmerz. World-pain. I think that this kind of angst probably sounds less trite in German. English words are so inadequate, they betray my meaning. I'm pretty good at life, though. There is no reason for me to feel waves of panic and literal nausea while sitting in groups of people talking about stupid shit. There is no reason for me to feel disgust at people's faces, people that I love or respect. I wish I could control these things. And when it comes down to it, I want to affirm life. I don't think everything is meaningless and absurd, or rather, I find it insanely liberating to feel untethered and disillusioned. According to Camus, thats when consciousness starts. I believe that. But I also believe that philosophy is really, really dangerous, and that its impossible not to swing between those extremes: elation and desperation in the face of absurdity. What I love about most of my professors is that they're all very good-natured, very chill and seemingly content people, despite having read so much depressing material. I admire this, and I want to be like this. I wish I could just snap my fingers and feel less terrified, less sad, less angry. My Dad always told me that happiness is something you can just choose. Simple, just give your problems to God, he used to say, completely serious. But that's not going to happen.



Watched “A Serious Man,” really liked it. I got a really Dostoevsky-ish vibe from the whole film, maybe because of the absurdity, the religious confusion, the oscillation between moments of intensity verging on catastrophe (but not really getting there) and lament for the mundane fatigue that fills up the spaces between. Plus, quick reference to gambling, creepy dreams, the theme of doubles, etc. The title/content reminds me of Dostoevsky’s distinction between the ‘underground man’ and the ‘serious man’ (did I get that right?) in Notes from Underground. D. is in my brain.
Here is my humble and sloppily-written analysis of one amazing scene.
Larry awkwardly climbs up the roof of his suburban house to adjust the antenna. The camera looks down at his face from the sky as he adjusts one component, then another. As he moves the antenna we hear channel voices coming in and out of focus between bits of white noise. When he turns around he notices his neighbour sun-bathing nude in her yard. Her body is obscured by the fence due to his position. He moves down the roof in order to get a full view of her body. She holds out one hand to the table and moves it around, without moving or taking her sunglasses off, as though blindly looking for something. She finds her cigarette and moves it to her mouth.
The relationship between Larry and the visual image produced by his fidgeting with the antenna is indirect. He is literally disengaged from the image he is producing (albeit production mediated by technology). There are different levels of disengagement and alienation going on here, 1) the image itself 2) the technological medium/mediating tool. A lot of communication in the film is mediated by technology, contrasting the more religious/spiritual component. The television is inside the home, a symbol of security but also constraint. The nondescript suburban home generally symbolizes 1) stagnancy and complacency 2) libidinal sublimation and/or repression. Larry is still connected to his home; he has not escaped it, however, he is at this point outside of it, above it – still within the limits but not entirely contained. There is a lot of concern about this whole ‘transgressing the boundaries’ of home in the film – Larry is often preoccupied about the neighbour crossing the invisible property line separating their lawns. Significaaaaant.
So it is interesting that the sequence of events relating to the naked neighbour directly parallels this episode with the antenna. When he turns away from the antenna, the image of his neighbour becomes immediately visible, but the image of her body is also obscured by another symbol of domestic complacency and libidinal restraint – a white picket fence. This limited and restricted image is only accessible to him ‘outside’ the bounds of his home (ie. outside the standards of ‘normative social behaviour’). Nevertheless, he is alienated from the image of the naked female body and, by extension, alienated from his own desire – he cannot realize this desire within the psychological/material ‘home’ he has established. This is why he only realizes this desire for the neighbour in his dream. Many of Larry’s important relationships are mediated, suggesting that his desire is necessarily sublimated.
It’s also interesting that despite being entirely naked, the woman’s eyes are obscured by sunglasses and she literally gropes around indifferently for the cigarette, echoing Larry’s attempts to fix the antenna and his attempts to get a clearer image of the woman’s body. In both cases, he is attempting to access an alienated and fragmented image but he never really comes into direct relation with these images. Both Larry and the neighbour are ‘blind’ in a certain sense, which perhaps explains their weird connection. But both of their playing-around-with-phallic symbols results in different pleasures: Larry’s searching is desperate and alienated, whereas she is in direct relation to her desires and is capable of pleasure.
The score of the movie is really amazing too, like in all Coen brothers’ movies…in this case, it was so well-timed: the more melancholic score only starts up during these really significant scenes, like cues to pay attention. There’s lots of other sequences of images that I’d like to (and probably will, because I've decided to stay home on this fine Friday evening) write about.
1) all the images in the final Rabbi’s room (especially the painting of Abraham & Isaac)
2) the moment when Larry rummages through his brother Arthur’s crazy notebook (insert crazy music) and the brother being in trouble for 1) gambling and 2) sodomy
3) the dream sequences
4) the teacher struggling to open a locked door while the students stand outside watching a fucking tornado, and Larry’s son is trying to repay a debt to his fellow classmate – argh, so goooood.


Blackberry song.

Kurt Vile's new album makes me feel really good. I bought it yesterday along with the new A Place to Bury Strangers. If only I quit smoking I'd have more money to splurge on actual albums more often. I love being in Soundscapes and Rotate This (ie the best record stores in this city). They were playing this amazing soul album by some dude named Famous L. Renfroe called "Children." I don't know a lot about gospel/soul but the three tracks I heard were...um, fucking great. I want to learn more because music like that makes me so happy, my body just starts moving and I couldn't stop humming on the walk home. I don't think Kurt Vile's face matches up to his voice. He's still really young, his voice is not. It is really cold here today. I'm having a hard time getting out of bed in the mornings because of this fact. The past few days have been good. One of my favourite things to do is unlimited coffee and a smoked salmon bagel sandwich at Nirvana with my friend Shawn. That was yesterday and then I cuddled on his couch with his warm warm knit blankets and his kitten as he sifted through feminist ethics course packs to find me good articles for my proposal. He lent me Berger's small book of essays "Ways of Seeing." I'm going to finish it today, its super good and tiny but powerful. Today was coffee with my friend Julie, who is a dancer and absolutely sweet and beautiful. When I went out for a cigarette I met an interesting cyclist who does triathalons for a living. We talked about buying long johns for the winter. 2 old men wearing non-ironic fedoras approached me later and we discussed mittens and windy days. Everyone is preparing for the widespread seasonal depression that sets in right about now. People are friendly but nervous about it. October is full of simple pleasures.


Impossible cool.

(some of the most amazing melt-worthy portraits of)
James Dean, Cary Grant, Kerouac, Tom Waits, Marlon Brando, Hemingway, Bowie (that I have ever seen. So many of my favourite men in one place is overwhelming). This is my new favourite site: the impossible cool.



Almost done the proposal (ie plea to the government for study money). Must. Procrastinate.
I got a mean email from a former internet stalker because I won't add him on facebook.
He said: "the only reason people put up with you is because you're good looking."
I kind of said the same thing to my boyfriend (whatever, I use the term loosely) a few days ago. That is the irony. Although I said it in a half-joking manner and apparently, according to him, its okay to say really mean things as long as you're joking. I just meant he's too good-looking for his own good.

Okay, enough drudgery, time for a survey:
"Brothers Karamazov is supposedly about the human condition, but it is actually a study of male relationships written by a man, so, as a woman, you will not 'get' the same 'things' from it as a man would."
Is there a problem with men 'getting' something different from a text than women would and vice versa? Is this inevitable? Or old-fashioned? Can gender really determine the degree to which you "understand" the author's message (authorial intent is usually an illegitimate question but I don't give a fuck) or certain elements about the work?

I'm neutral here. Wondering what you think.


Rape Tunnel/Rape as Fetish

But rape is way more extreme than a punch to the face. Is your intention to ruin people’s lives?

Possibly. I’m not necessarily concerned with the positive or negative effects of this project so long as there is some effect on people’s lives. I’ve merely set up a situation where there is potential to impact people in meaningful ways. Maybe I won’t be able to rape everyone who crawls through the tunnel, but the door is open for all kinds of scenarios; rape, serious injury, maybe even death. I might even get arrested. Right now the installation isn’t even complete, and I’ve riled up a substantial portion of the local population. The installation as an idea is powerful enough itself.

- Richard Whitehurst interviewed by Sheila Zareno for Artlurker

The enigma is that of an object which offers itself up in total transparency, and hence cannot be naturalized by critical or aesthetic discourse. It is that of a superficial, artificial object which succeeds in preserving its artificiality, in shaking free of any natural signification to take on a spectral intensity, empty of meaning, which is that of the fetish. The fetish object has no value, Or rather, it has an absolute value; it lives off the ecstasy of value.

-Baudrillard, "Machinic Snobbery" from The Perfect Crime

This article fills me with so much distaste and anger and resentment on so many levels.
What the fuck is going on with the post-pomo art scene? How does a rape tunnel in any way contribute to art becoming 'meaningful' again within contemporary society? If anything, this kind of..."installation" contributes to the increasing meaningless of contemporary art, which has become a scene of increasingly 'weird' people invested in maintaining identities as 'crazy' artists making as much noise as possible to promote increasingly boring ideas about irony and absurdity and the death of the artist, blah blah blah. I think as soon as art took a turn towards absurdity for its own sake, all of its social purpose or 'meaning' disintegrated except as a vehicle for personal self-promotion, under the guise of the artist as a 'non-entity.' Baudrillard talks about this, it is not new. But I think it is an illusion to say that the artist has disappeared, because I think all that remains is the artist as some stupid laughing asshole throwing shit around and demanding an audience.
Why, if art is indeed meaningless, are we only reinforcing this message by focusing more and more on the absurdity of art? Wouldn't it be more radical at this point to create art with a purpose and some sort of social intent, with values and a particular aesthetic manifesto in mind? How does more shock = a return to meaning? Doesn't this method actually result in the opposite? Art is reduced to publicity stunts for attention that evoke little else but shock value. If you read his interview, he doesn't actually give a shit about what is actually going on here, in terms of interpersonal relationships (if you can call it that), hyperreality, any sort of message, etc. The 'artists intent' is literally "evoke a response." Never mind what kind of response or the irrevocable damage it could cause; any response will do, and apparently, the only thing that even evokes mild discontent or concern within our society currently is a pseudo-staged strategized rape scenario. The really frightening thing is that the public becomes increasingly desensitized as a result, and this phenomena produces shit like this
asshole's 'rape tunnel.' What the fuck is wrong with our society that makes us so fucking numb to everything except the thrilling possibility of "consensual rape"? And doesn't this whole installation trivialize the experiences of actual rape victims? Doesn't this trivialize the experience in general by turning it into a hyperreal simulacrum of violence? Are people so numb and dead and unaffected that they would enter this tunnel knowing full well that it will lead to sexual assault? It is sad the lengths people will go to feel anything, and the associated absurd attitude that all experience is good experience, which corresponds to the whole paradox of more shock = more meaning. Meaning is not a quantitative value; you can't measure meaningful experience according to its severity or, in this case, the degree to which you are possibly psychologically and physically damaged. There seems to be a general attitude of 'fuck it, I'll try anything once, why limit my experiences' hence, 'fuck yeah, sure, I'll enter a rape tunnel.' There is enough sadness and destruction and rape and violence going on in the 'real' world; why the fuck do we seek out simulated hyperreal versions of this in (of all places) the art scene? I thought art was supposed to detract from this, not contribute. Why do people feel that excess is required to achieve any sort of meaningful existence? Our widespread existential groundlessness results in this compulsion to fill ourselves up with 'new' experiences but the irony is that all of these so-called 'authentic' experiences are manufactured for consumption, they are not genuine, authentic or meaningful experiences. Everyone wants to 'live life to the fullest' but no one ever thinks about picking and choosing experiences in terms of their positive or negative effects. For example, I find it incredibly ironic that people feel they are living 'fun and exciting lives' by going out to bars and drinking their asses off every fucking weekend. I mean, really? This is exciting to you? It all just seems very manufactured and simulated and repetitive to me. And so fucking easy. Art and bars and social situations in general are all laid out for us to pick and choose from (for a price, of course). Everything - 'contemporary art' 'live music' 'the bar/club scene' - are designated spaces purchased and purchasable, we can pick and choose pre-fabricated experiences and then pretend like we've earned it and have some free choice in the choosing. And apparently rape is now on the board of possible experiences produced for easy consumption.
When I read early post-modern poetry, poetics are still meaningful, the artist has a method, a system of values that guides their creative process. When I read this kind of poetry I respond strongly, in ways that I never really do when I read most current contemporary poetry. I mean, there are amazing moments when I read something new and think 'fuck yes, this means something' but for the most part, I just feel kind of bored with the cynical post-ironic, blase tone (of some, dare I say most) of the literature being produced by my generation. Call me old-fashioned or romantic, but I'd like to reinvest some real values into art. Some passion, some ethics. Nobody works hard at anything any more, everybody wants everything to come easy. And, voila, it does. It just doesn't mean anything.


Jack Lemmon still cares about love.

coherent on streets washed free of drunk laughs
for once little italy is not a shameless buffet of sexual parts and pricey alcohol
colour-co-ordinated-bodies you could slurp up from sidewalks
people should wear little pricetags stating measurements dick size the cost of present outfit salary living arrangements number of drinks before I'll fuck you
that way nobody will be surprised when they unwrap the package at home.
a bunch of Americans stopped me in front of cafe diplomatico
they wanted to know like, where the action is, y'know
I asked if they wanted to get laid or meet cool people or just dance
they ignored me and asked where I was going.
Lightning lit up the sky and in the windows of american apparel
all the bright spandex clad legs with asses out
looked pretty fucking ominous.

(Ginsberg's howl generation was still vibrant, still drunk on its own self-destruction, pushing out into something new whereas my generation is inert and locked in a cycle of recycled and simulated immediacy or maybe Ginsberg felt that way too, maybe we misinterpret him. I dreamed of Ginsberg last night, he is still with me I am thankful for good friends and people who create things)


Creeley hit me hard and my anxiety subsided like a cold wave pulling away from my body or clouds dissipating momentarily/releasing warm sun

For Love

Yesterday I wanted to
speak of it, that sense above
the others to me
important because all

that I know derives
from what it teaches me.
Today, what is it that
is finally so helpless,

different, despairs of its own
statement, wants to
turn away, endlessly
to turn away.

If the moon did not ...
no, if you did not
I wouldn’t either, but
what would I not

do, what prevention, what
thing so quickly stopped.
That is love yesterday
or tomorrow, not

now. Can I eat
what you give me. I
have not earned it. Must
I think of everything

as earned. Now love also
becomes a reward so
remote from me I have
only made it with my mind.

Here is tedium,
despair, a painful
sense of isolation and
whimsical if pompous

self-regard. But that image
is only of the mind’s
vague structure, vague to me
because it is my own.

Love, what do I think
to say. I cannot say it.
What have you become to ask,
what have I made you into,

companion, good company,
crossed legs with skirt, or
soft body under
the bones of the bed.

Nothing says anything
but that which it wishes
would come true, fears
what else might happen in

some other place, some
other time not this one.
A voice in my place, an
echo of that only in yours.

Let me stumble into
not the confession but
the obsession I begin with
now. For you

also (also)
some time beyond place, or
place beyond time, no
mind left to

say anything at all,
that face gone, now.
Into the company of love
it all returns.

(Robert Creeley)


Charles Olson.

Charles Olson, drunk and lovely. Keep with it until the middle and then...

there is no strict personal order for my inheritance
no greek will be able
to discriminate my body
an american is a complex of occasions
themselves a geometry
of spatial nature
I have this sense that I am one with my skin

(those are my line breaks, not his)
He has a marvelous epic voice and I have been listening to him before bed, letting his voice pull me into sleep.
I feel like I have my shit together. I'm almost done draft 1 of SSHRC/OGS applications, finished my Duncan seminar for Thursday, completed two more segments of a very long sequential poem dedicated to my sister and several other poems. Maybe I will post them here or something. Not feeling on good terms with blog-land.

Bon soir, lovers.


A good man is hard to find...

say Sufjan Stevens, Flannery O'Connor, Sophie Tucker and Micah: "The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men." (Micah 7:2)

Spinoza's one Substance/non-anthropomorphic divinity 'sees' all the possible manifestations of the universe, all infinite variations, down to the most minute differentiations. God allows only one of these variations to unfold, and, according to Spinoza, this is the best possible variation, the best possible coming-into-being of the universe. For whom and according to what master plan, though? If this is indeed the best way for my life to unfold according to some abstract concept of divinity or 'essence' and a deterministic model of order...well then, I suppose thankfulness is in order, even if happiness for me personally is sacrificed for the sake of some more general 'order.' I'm not an altruist but the idea of my life and its events fitting into some 'larger,' essential and intrinsic order appeals to moi.

I don't enjoy Stoicism but I think it can be useful. It's useful when applied to suffering. And when Epictetus says, "
Do not seek to have events happen as you want them to, but instead want them to happen as they do happen, and your life will go well," my gut response is a 'fuck dude' groan of exasperation but then, sure, I get it. Stoicism requires you form no attachments to avoid all excess and pain. Recognize that everything is temporary and perishable. Extreme self-discipline to the point of repression. This kind of restraint is not only difficult for me but also seems like a ridiculous approach to life. But its starting to look like a good option. I'm so tired, tired, sad, sad.

I am not a practical or matter-of-fact person, which is why I am drawn to some mystical notion of (shall I say) fate, maybe because of my Christian upbringing, maybe because I am a softy-idealist not far beneath the surface, maybe because I want certainty and direction and a reason not to throw my fucking hands in the air and say 'fuck it' as is so fashionable with my generation. Fuck, I think that I gave up God and replaced it with philosophy, which is essentially the same thing. And now I'm reeling at philosophy, angry at having discovered its tendency to continously point back to God, with subtlety and patience and occasional urgency. All philosophy speaks of a certain kind of 'faith.' I have a deterministic streak. Which is why, when I looked at you that day and I felt something very strong, I knew you were important to me, and I still feel that way. And no, I don't want to give this up. Shit sticks with me, people stick with me. This is my curse and blessing. I feel lonely most of the time because I miss everybody, always. I miss that boy I punched on the school yard in kindergarten and later kissed. I miss the person who taught me how to smoke. I miss God sometimes.

I spent this evening curled up on the floor infront of the fireplace. It is getting cold here. Talking to my brother about his eventful sex life, laughing at and with my Mother, watching home renovation shows, reading Robert Duncan. Family is all I have and all I want to be surrounded with right now.



I went to this gallery on Queen West yesterday with a giant illustrated installation in the front window, a scene with a giant cat being corralled by tiny hunters. The image is really lovely and whimsical. Here are some other interesting illustrations by the same artist, Kozyndan, a seemingly awesome duo.

Click for bigger images and all illustrations are copyright and sourced from their website and flickr. I think octopi are going to be my next power animal. I also really like Fenando Vincente.

School has started and I love every one of my classes. This semester, Contemporary Poetry and Poetics, Literature and Philosophy and a bad-ass philosophy seminar called "Life, Death, Absurdity and Meaning" with the lovely prof who indirectly compelled me to get a Spinoza quote tattooed on my arm. Next semester, Hegel, 20th century continental philosophy and gender and transgender theory, taught by the transgendered head of the philosophy department who periodically comes to university as a woman. I have to start writing statements of interest for grad applications. I have to get shit done.

The way that Tom Waits sings "come closer, look deeper, you've fallen fast" makes me melt and fall in love. Dead and Lovely is such a sexy sexy song.

I'm writing a lot of stuff. I feel like there is too little life and too much to do. I want to spend a day watching Antonioni and Jodorowsky films.



New notebooks excuses to buy thick old dog-eared books that smell of basements and coffee stains thick wool knits and heads under hoods cold sunny days autumnal poetry dark wood tables early evenings bundled up in duvets with warm purring cats elliott smith and nick drake and crisp afternoons spent on park benches with mugs of apple cider proximity with limits candlelit patios and pints of amber beer long baths and the goosebumps before you dip your foot in - Olson and Duncan - nostalgia, windy looming overcast days barren beaches and gray sand movies about sadness and the human condition professors that dance and give second chances the twilight of the idols on tv crimson and brown prayers,



Lots of people ask me why I take cinema so seriously, why I can't "let myself be entertained" and chill out. Zizek says something in part 3 of "A Pervert's Guide to Cinema" that is so perfect.

"Our fundamental delusion today is not to believe in what is only a fiction, to take fictions too seriously. It's, on the contrary, not to take fictions seriously enough. You think it's just a game? It's reality. It's more real than it appears to you. For example, people who play video games, they adopt a screen persona of a sadist, rapist, whatever. The idea is, in reality I'm a weak person, so in order to supplement my real life weakness, I adopt the false image of a strong, sexually promiscuous person, and so on and so on. So this would be the naïve reading. But what if we read it in the opposite way? That this strong, brutal rapist, whatever, identity is my true self. In the sense that this is the psychic truth of myself and that in real life, because of social constraints and so on, I'm not able to enact it. So that, precisely because I think it's only a game, it's only a persona, a self-image I adopt in virtual space, I can be there much more truthfully. I can enact there an identity which is much closer to my true self."

Images are very very important. Watching a movie is like re-experiencing the mirror stage over and over: the formation of primary identifications, the literal and metaphorical articulation of the symbolic and imaginary registers in opposition to one another, the projection of Self onto a screen and the introjection of the imago. The images that seem harmless are actually the ones we should pay most attention to; the 'easy' entertainment that doesn't require any sort of conscious deciphering is potentially dangerous. Not because the content of these images is any more or less revealing or complicated, but due to the way we approach them. So, yeah, I refuse to believe that anything should be easy. That images can be easy and opaque. I want to condition myself to see as clearly as possible.

So the quote brings up a lot of problematic issues for me. The cause and effect relationship between the producer and product. In the case of the cinematic apparatus, which is which? This dichotomy exemplifies the illusion of the Subject-Other relation in general: neither one is entirely stable or grounded in either position. Thus, the instability of the mirror image - we form an identity based on the stability of an image reflected on a screen before us, but that image is really only the distorted and idealized vision of our own 'reality' - the 'reality' is formed from a fiction and the fiction is simultaneously a reflection of that inevitably fractured and inconsistent Self.

Where do these cinematic tropes develop? The fact that we take certain motifs and character types for granted tells us about ourselves and our vision of 'who we are.' Why is a lame stock comedy even entertaining unless we can form identifications with the characters on some level? Do we all want to identify with these characters? Is this, as Zizek says, a form of enacting or experiencing an identity much closer to the 'truth' because we can't submit to the excesses of cariacture in reality as a result of social constraints? And what does that say about us, taking into consideration the stock characters we choose to identify with and indirectly produce and reproduce in popular films?

Cinema is important because it is like a threshold between the imaginary and the symbolic registers, or, in any case, the closest we can get to a threshold. Zizek: "Illusion persists. There is something real in the illusion, more real than in the reality behind it." Oi. Watch "A Pervert's Guide to Cinema" if you have not, I think my brain short-circuited due to the sheer amount of amazing going on.

I'm probably in love with him. Zizek, that is.

I watched Pasolini's 120 Days of Sodom (Salo) last week. The full effect of the film didn't really hit me until last night, while watching The Last House on the Left. If you've watched both, you'll understand, I think.

LHotL - torture porn, very short shots, 'documentary' style, unstable cinematography, washed out sepia colour tone, the illusion of a narrative that functions to justify the viewer's investment, the drawn-out high-intensity emotion that reeks of melodrama and only evokes indifference, inane and trite dialogue that exposes 1) the importance of dialogue 2) the complete insufficiency of dialogue in film, stock characters, typical score. The scary part for me in watching movies like this is that I feel nothing while watching a girl brutally raped and her friend sexually assaulted and murdered. I don't like watching rape scenes in film because I don't want to be confronted with the brutual reality of my own indifference to that image. I don't like the games that the director plays on the viewer: we're all aware that we're watching this for entertainment, that we obviously enjoy on some fucked-up level watching people die simulated brutal deaths. And the directors add some stupid shit like an upper-class family with a dead kid and marital problems to ease our minds and soothe us into thinking we watch because its a story that we are invested in with characters and real people who somehow overcome their suffering. We may as well cut out all of that shit and just be honest with ourselves. We just want to watch people suffer. We want to see girls victimized and see the rich white people overcome their complacency and seek revenge. It's a sadomasochistic viewing experience; we punish ourselves for the desire to see these acts played out for us by following through with it and feeling nothing, not horror or enjoyment or anything but a numb void. And what the characters say means little to nothing. The dialogue doesn't really change our experience of the film at all. The voice is on mute, words are nothing, just glossed over decoration necessary but not vital in terms of the viewing experience. We're here for the images and movies like this expose the degree to which dialogue is superfluous in most popular films. I think most people could watch Transformers 2 with no dialogue and still enjoy the movie.

Salo - long, painfully drawn out shots, very stable cinematography, mainly wide and mid shots, high attention to framing and composition, an absurd score that contrasted the content of the screen images, a degree of surreality, severe emotional disconnect, almost like an aloof indifference of the camera in relation to the action, deliberate dialogue consisting mainly of pornographic stories and demands or rules given to the victims, a lack of a typical narrative structure in that there is no introduction that cushions our perspective of the violence - it starts immediately. The characters are blank slates with no identity except as archetypes - but no one is pretending otherwise. This includes the director, the actors, and thus, as a viewer, we can't form these connections because they are not provided and manufactured for us. We remain suspended at the entrance to the image, struggling for something 'human' within the narrative, wanting a flimsy security blanket to maintain some degree of illusory moral security. This film forced me to feel uncomfortable with my position as 'audience.' The film involves you while remaining disengaged, it pushes you into the events; you are victimized by your own curiosity, while the camera maintains a particular distance from the characters and the horrific acts going on. So basically, this film does the opposite of what typical, contemporary 'horror' films do. I could write about this film forever, it is so fascinating and has had such an intense impact on me.

I've been writing a lot recently but I don't feel comfortable on the interwebs at the moment. I feel like writing for a blog conditions my creative process in a negative way. Like I assume I am writing for an audience immediately, which is usually a bad way for me to start.

I am so so happy with my life. The last few weeks have been insane with new experiences people images and ideas. And a new year begins.