cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (why we can't have nice things)
I will not attend WisCon in 2015. I may never attend WisCon again.

WisCon's Subcommittee Statement on Jim Frenkel demonstrates that WisCon is a feminist convention in name, not deed. The Harassment Policy Committee prioritizes the harasser (in this case, a man) over the victims. They offer him the out of a redemption narrative and will entertain any appeals he chooses to make. They offer the victims hollow apologies and no appeals process. They are more concerned with the harasser's access to the con than with the safety of the rule-abiding membership.

Given the committee's decision regarding a well-documented, serial harasser, I have no confidence that WisCon will handle responsibly the other pending report of harassment or future complaints.

The committee has stated their decision will not be influenced by future discussions. (It is non-negotiable for the victims and wider membership, but provisional for the perpetrator.) Therefore, I have no confidence that WisCon will be swayed by a petition like that created by [ profile] vschanoes for Readercon under similar circumstances.

Even if WisCon rescinds this decision, whether due to overwhelming criticism or the demands of their own consciences, I am so thoroughly disgusted that I do not want to a part of the convention anymore.

I am angry that an event I looked forward to year after year cares more about reforming a predator than protecting its other participants. I am disappointed that WisCon has operated with insular stubbornness, rather than learning from cohorts and critics. I am incredulous that this subcommittee passed the buck to future committees, who will have to act as parole boards in addition to dealing with new, inevitable safety issues that will arise.

WisCon is no longer *my* con. There is nothing "provisional" about that.
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (studying)
I kept wanting to tweet bits of Henry Rollins' poetry as I read See a Grown Man Cry, but I didn't want people to think I was depressed (any more so than usual, I mean) or suicidal. So I will post them here, where I can first reassure y'all that I'm fine.

The text is absolutely crammed into the book. Very little front or end matter, small margins throughout, tiny wingdings to separate individual entries, few of which have titles. There's something to be said for cumulative effect, but I keep wondering what would happen if Rollins winnowed his output to fewer, better-crafted stand-alone poems. This bit comes from "4 Wall Blues":

I have a hard time with depression
The beast that follows me
Makes me say things I don't want to
Tonight I'm walking with the Beast
Onward to the soul drain

Part of what gets me about this excerpt is that I can hear the first line in Rollins' voice. So matter-of-fact, the words plain as the pain. The last line, with soul drain, demonstrates Rollins working with language at a different level than I saw in Black Coffee Blues. Also, I like that this piece, and this whole book really, reveals depression is more than mere "sadness": there can be a lot of anger, too, directed inward and outward.

This excerpt reminds me of [ profile] asakiyume

There's a small part of my heart that's always sad
Part of me that walks with a slow aching step
Forever longing
The beauty of that
To be forever longing
Too much joy makes the time pass too quickly
A bit of sadness slows things down so you can see it
Makes the sun set slower

Although better known for rants, Rollins can also achieve a haiku-like precision:

The sirens pass going east on Sunset Blvd
All the dogs sound off
Sad songs

Another near-ku, and one that makes me feel better about my depression-related headaches:

Without me this headache is nothing
It needs me more than I need it
It clings to me desperately

Although Rollins despairs that "It's impossible to explain anything / That anyone would want explained" and "There's certain things I can't say aloud / I want to give you diamond thoughts / Not cough up blood and coal," I take much comfort from lines like this:

You think about killing yourself as you stare at the ceiling
Ignore it
It's just a tiny disease that the city gave you

And I recognize myself in these:

You hold your head in your hands
Feeling for the on-off switch.

These too offer a grim satisfaction I know all-too-well:

I have killed another day
I didn't give it a good fight
I just shot it in the back
And watched 400 miles pass by
My blood stains the bedsheet

In conclusion, I appreciated this collection much more than Black Coffee Blues (though that one was published more recently), and I'm much more inclined to seek out more of Rollins' writings than if I judged from BCB alone. 

Gratuitous picture of the punk poet:

henry rollins

cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (book)
I love an unsympathetic protagonist--I AM an unsympathetic protagonist--but there's a world of difference between unsympathetic and just fucking annoying.

Last night I finished reading A Quiet Adjustment by Benjamin Markovits, which is about Annabella, who marries Lord Byron with predictably disastrous results. The deliberately affected narration reminded me of Jane Austen, with all its qualifications and discretion and seemingly contradictory descriptions. I almost stopped reading because "I don't have time for this. Say what you mean and mean what you say!" But, like Austen's books, this one teaches you how to read itself; there comes a critical mass of accumulation, repetition, and nuance, and one's focus suddenly shifts, like with a Magic Eye picture, and finally you can read between the lines. (Though there are bits of dialogue that still mystify me.)
Annabella is insufferably calculating, vain, and superior. Yet Markovits makes it clear to me for the first time just how suffocating women's roles were at the time, that an intelligent woman like Annabella was forced into vertiginous interiority because she wasn't allowed to direct that power outwards. Instead she measured every word and gesture, kept a running mental tally of "moral" victories and defeats, and orchestrated her relations with the precision and foresight of a chess master. (The reader can see very well how Annabella's daughter, Ada, would become the first computer programmer.) And yet, for all my understanding, I still didn't like her. Unlike the Marquise de Merteuil in Dangerous Liaisons, Annabella takes no pleasure in her machinations, demonstrates no verve or style in her persecution of her wayward husband or sister-in-law. She is neither hero nor villain.
I endured Annabella's point of view because I'm fascinated by how a gnarled intellect like hers navigated the nightmare of her marriage, the potential disgrace of separation, the continued relationship with Byron's half-sister/mistress even after Byron left the continent. As a reader, I suppose mine became equivalent to the curious eyes Annabella felt watching her post-separation, and I felt the same cold reproof as she dealt them.
Whereas Annabella fell in that uncomfortable space between unsympathetic and just annoying, the protag of The Road (movie version) fell squarely into the annoying camp.
(Spoilers galore!

You've been warned!)
I remember, with the book, being frustrated by Cormac McCathy's rambling, faux-biblical style, but watching the movie, style didn't bother me as much as characterization. Beginning to end, I wanted to strangle the father. First, it wasn't clear to me whether the movie premise was stupid--some sort of nuclear apocalypse killed all the animals and plants but not all the humans?--or if it was just the father who was stupid, since he thought that was the case. Near movie's end, we see the father, despite being a doctor, was mistaken. There are, in fact, other signs of life, and his malevolent view of the universe is not supported by the facts.
(Neither is his notion of necessity; at one point he destroys the family's beloved piano--for firewood, we are given to understand--but how 'bout using all the houses in their ghost-town subdivision, dumbass?)
Another frustration, the father is constantly veering between "Must save son!" and "Can't save son, so must KILL son." I swear, no one threatened that boy with extinction more often than his sniveling father. The man had more endurance than will to live. The boy's hopeful optimism is validated at movie's end, but I don't see the point in dragging him (and us) along behind his sinking ship of a father for TWO HOURS just to "reveal" that humanity's not a total wash. Seems like a perversely Job-like trial.
And this reminds me of that other supposedly specfic-by-way-of-literary-luminary book-turned-movie, Never Let Me Go. "Stop wallowing in your misery and DO  SOMETHING!" I want to scream. "Even if it's pointless or half-baked or more symbolic than useful, sweet ass-grabbing Jesus, DO SOMETHING!"
lilo and stitch gif
cafenowhere: coffee cup with sugar packets that read WTF (stop trying to kill me!)

Return of Supernatural bumped to February?!


DAMN YOU, CW! Sammy just got re-souled, but YOU are clearly soulless demon spawn. And NOT the sexy kind!!!



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