A girl slams the door of her little room
under the eaves where marauding squirrels
scamper overhead like herds of ideas.
She has forgotten to be grateful she has
finally a room with a door that shuts.
She is furious her parents don’t comprehend
why she wants to go to college, that place
of musical comedy fantasies and weekend
football her father watches, beer can
in hand. It is as if she announced I want
to journey to Iceland or Machu Picchu.
Nobody in their family goes to college.
Where do dreams come from? Do they
sneak in through torn screens at night
to light on the arm like mosquitoes?
Are they passed from mouth to ear
like gossip or dirty jokes? Do they
sprout from underground on damp
mornings like toadstools that form
fairy rings on dewtipped grasses?
No, they slink out of books, they lurk
in the stacks of libraries. Out of pages
turned they rise like the scent of peonies
and infect the brain with their promise.
I want, I will, says the girl and already
she is halfway out the door and down
the street from this neighborhood, this
mortgaged house, this family tight
and constricting as the collar on the next
door dog who howls on his chain all night.
—Marge Piercy, Where Dreams Come From
I would like to watch you sleeping,
which may not happen.
I would like to watch you,
sleeping. I would like to sleep
with you, to enter
your sleep as its smooth dark wave
slides over my head
and walk with you through that lucent
wavering forest of bluegreen leaves
with its watery sun & three moons
towards the cave where you must descend,
towards your worst fear
I would like to give you the silver
branch, the small white flower, the one
word that will protect you
from the grief at the center
of your dream, from the grief
at the center I would like to follow
you up the long stairway
again & become
the boat that would row you back
carefully, a flame
in two cupped hands
to where your body lies
beside me, and as you enter
it as easily as breathing in
I would like to be the air
that inhabits you for a moment
only. I would like to be that unnoticed
& that necessary.
—Margaret Atwood, Variation on the Word Sleep
The moment when, after many years
of hard work and a long voyage
you stand in the centre of your room,
house, half-acre, square mile, island, country,
knowing at last how you got there,
and say, I own this,
is the same moment when the trees unloose
their soft arms from around you,
the birds take back their language,
the cliffs fissure and collapse,
the air moves back from you like a wave
and you can’t breathe.
No, they whisper. You own nothing.
You were a visitor, time after time
climbing the hill, planting the flag, proclaiming.
We never belonged to you.
You never found us.
It was always the other way round.
History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
Dedalus, you’re an antisocial being, wrapped up in yourself. I’m not. I’m a democrat and I’ll work and act for social liberty and equality among all classes and sexes in the United States of the Europe of the future.
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
(gotta love how, even before 1916, Joyce knew exactly what a terrible nuisance Western European and American “democrats” are)
Stephen dissented openly from Bloom’s view on the importance of dietary and civic self help while Bloom dissented tacitly from Stephen’s views on the eternal affirmation of the spirit of man in literature.
I outline a princess, an ordinary one, emaciated fashion-model torso and infantile face, like those I did for _Favourite Fairy Tales._ Earlier they annoyed me, the stories never revealed the essential things about them, such as what they ate or whether their towers and dungeons had bathrooms, it was as though their bodies were pure air. It wasn’t Peter Pan’s ability to fly that made him incredible for me, it was the lack of an outhouse near his underground burrow.
—Margaret Atwood, Surfacing
There were several scrapbooks; I sat down on the bed and opened one at random, feeling as though I was opening someone else’s private diary. It was my brother’s: explosions in red and orange, soldiers dismembering in the air, planes and tanks; he must have been going to school by then, he knew enough to draw little swastikas on the sides. Further on there were flying men with comic-book capes and explorers on another planet, he spent hours explaining these pictures to me. The purple jungles I’d forgotten, the green sun with seven red moons, the animals with scales and spines and tentacles; and a man-eating plant, engulfing a careless victim, a balloon with HELP in it squeezing out of his mouth like bubble gum. The other explorers were rescuing him with their weapons: flame-throwers, trumpet-shaped pistols, ray-guns. In the background was their spaceship, bristling with gadgets.
The next scrapbook was mine. I searched through it carefully, looking for something I could recognize as myself, where I had come from or gone wrong; but there were no drawings at all, just illustrations cut from magazines and pasted in. They were ladies, all kinds: holding up cans of cleanser, knitting, smiling, modelling toeless high heels and nylons with dark seams and pillbox hats and veils. A lady was what you dressed up as on Hallowe’en when you couldn’t think of anything else and didn’t want to be a ghost; or it was what you said at school when they asked you what you were going to be when you grew up, you said “A lady” or “A mother,” either one was safe; and it wasn’t a lie, I did want to be those things. On some of the pages were women’s dresses clipped from mail order catalogues, no bodies in them.
I tried another one: mine also, earlier. The drawings were of ornately-decorated Easter eggs, singly and in groups. Some of them had people-shaped rabbits climbing up them on rope ladders; apparently the rabbits lived inside the eggs, there were doors at the tops, they could pull the ladders up after them. Beside the larger eggs were smaller ones connected to them by bridges, the outhouses. Page after page of eggs and rabbits, grass and trees, normal and green, surrounding them, flowers blooming, sun in the upper right-hand corner of each picture, moon symmetrically in the left. All the rabbits were smiling and some were laughing hilariously; several were shown eating ice-cream cones from the safety of their egg-tops. No monsters, no wars, no explosions, no heroism. I couldn’t remember ever having drawn these pictures. I was disappointed in myself: I must have been a hedonistic child, I thought, and quite stodgy also, interested in nothing but social welfare. Or perhaps it was a vision of Heaven.
—Margaret Atwood, Surfacing
The power flowed into my eyes, I could see into him, he was an imposter, a pastiche, layers of political handbills, pages from magazines, _affiches,_ verbs and nouns glued on to him and shredding away, the original surface littered with fragments and tatters. In a black suit knocking on doors, young once, even that had been a costume, a uniform; now his hair was falling off and he didn’t know what language to use, he’d forgotten his own, he had to copy. Second-hand American was spreading over him in patches, like mange or lichen. He was infested, garbled, and I couldn’t help him: it would take such time to heal, unearth him, scrape down to where he was true.
—Margaret Atwood, Surfacing
I’m horrible with repeatedly listening to one and the same song when I get obsessed, but my neighbor is even worse.
RSE: Da li strahujete od toga da bi ta nezadovoljstva mogla da iskoristi ekstremna desnica? Ja vam sad govorim nešto što je objektivna slika onoga što se događa u ovim državama. Slušam vaše argumente. Intelektualno, takva kritika je sa pozicije jednog levičara, ali ona se potpuno poklapa sa kritikom danas u Srbiji najrigidnijih desnih opcija.
Buden: Hoćete reći da sam fašista?
Lol. Malo preoštro, s obzirom da pitanje nije unwarranted (kako se to beše kaže na srpskom? uh, srbisti su u pravu kad kažu da anglist ne znaju srpski). Ali potpuno razumem što je čoveku muka od (manje ili više suptilnog) izjednačavanja levice i desnice.
RSE: Razumem vašu intelektualnu kritičnost prema Evropi, ali pretpostavljam da ipak time ne želite da obeshrabrite države u regionu u procesu približavanja Briselu?
Buden: A zašto bih ih trebao ohrabriti? Da ih čeka- što? Da ih čeka njemački standard, francuska moć, pravo na engleski egoizam? Bugarska je u EU. Da li ih možda čeka bugarska evropska budućnost, socijalni nemiri, ljudi koji se samospaljuju na ulicama? Ne vidim zašto bih nekoga ohrabrivao.
Ljudi su bili dovoljno hrabri voditi glupe ratove, valjda će biti i dovoljno hrabri da jednako tako glupo uđu u bilo što, što im se ponudi, ali to svakako nije tako strašno kao rat.
Rotfl. Mislim, nije smešno ni najmanje, ali kako drugačije gledati na samo-destruktivnu glupost u region?
Ulysses' Gaze is taking too much to download and I want to watch it now. *pouts like an ungrateful, spoiled brat that she is*
1. Favourite series overall
Uh, this one is really hard because virtually every season is compelling in its own way for me and is imo best understood and appreciated within the context of the show as a whole.
S1 I love for its focus on the Mall Rats molding themselves into the relatively decent community that they were going to be for the rest of the show. I like reading s1 (and the whole show, for that matter) from a sort of an alternative-history angle. Here these characters are - in “primitive” conditions, but rejecting “primitive” solutions to the division of labor and resources, which the official, linear-progressive history (at least the one I thought in school and dare I say it’s not different elsewhere? though ok, this also depended on who was teaching the class in my case. not everyone who taught me saw or presented history as the inevitable and desirable linear progression from “primitive savages” to the “enlightened” contemporary Western Europeans/Westerners in general. but I begin to digress too much as per usual.) insists were/must be universally-embraced in “primitive” times and/or when dealing with “primitive” people. (On a somewhat unrelated note, I must mention how much I roll my eyes when a TT review, accidentally or not, manages to imply that struggling for access to basic resources is an issue of past but not present. What the hell is wrong with you and how dare you? Though given that the majority of tv reviews are as vapid as the majority of fandom members, I don’t know why I’m not past having any sort of reaction to them at all by now.) Special love for emphatic rejection of patriarchy by the Mall Rats and not just Mall Rats (I.e the Farm Girls. Need I say more?) in this season (and, of course, not just this season, but you know what I mean – this season had a couple of episodes explicitly dedicated to tearing down and mocking patriarchal nonsense embodied in Lex’s leadership).
S2 I love for the further engagement with the issue of establishing constructive cooperation and positive peace. (As opposed to destructive cooperation, where the few biggest and/or strongest and/or most obnoxious ones begrudgingly collaborate so that they could exploit everyone else [you know, kinda like the European Union] and negative peace, where there is peace but also inequality and injustice.) Also, I loved the exploration of difficulties with one group of people, no matter how predominantly well-meaning, being in position of having power over others. And special love for emphatic rejection of capitalism and imperialism by the (majority of) the Mall Rats.
S3 I love for the themes of occupation, collaboration, resistance, war crimes, rebuilding of the community after the horrors of conflict, etc. Also, of course, the themes of uses and abuses of organized religion. (Which is, btw, why I’m personally very meh when tv reviewers and/or fans chose to associate the Chosen with random real life cults that have never institutionalized their power in any significant way or militarized alarmingly large numbers of people for their overt and covert purposes. Also, jokes you [try to] make at the Chosen’s expense are a lot better in my book if you chose to compare their religion with, say, [abuses of] Christianity [my favorite comparison for them at the moment, in case this isn’t obvious]. Then again, I doubt even that particular comparison would make tv reviewers’ and/or fandom’s sense of humor humorous to me.)
S4 I love for looking at some of the issues I mentioned above from a somewhat different angle. Technologically advanced, unambiguously military-like and seemingly fairly secular, the Technos - for me at least - bear resemblance to the face of Western imperialism of the present. (But it’s not exactly the face of contemporary Western imperialism, given the Technos go around talking about “civilizing” the “primitive” ones, rather than about bringing/spreading “democracy” and “human rights”. So they are echoing former European colonial powers moreso than contemporary neo-colonial powers. But still, I find it possible to see them as NATO, UN and similar organizations. And be reminded of gazillion things that make my blood boil about contemporary Westerners through various Techno characters. All of this is said from a vague, overgeneralized and reductive the West/the Rest perspective, which I can’t seem to resist falling into every once in awhile. No intended apology for my rants possibly hurting the feelings of arrogant Westerners in the previous statement, though. Just an attempt at being honest about where I’m coming from and what I’m saying.) I also liked the issues of uses and abuses of technology in this series.
S5 I love for the dystopian vision it offers. Though I’ve come to somewhat dissociate from what I perceive as a 1984-friendly dystopian turn (because it seems to me that we’re at the moment closer to a Brave-New-World-friendly dystopian turn), I still find Mega, Mega’s/s5 Technos’ vision of society and his/their clashes with Amber, Amber’s/Mall Rats’ visions of society very compelling to watch. I also appreciate the introduction of Liberty (having lived in a small town for the majority of my life, I would possibly/probably feel most comfortable in a Liberty-like environment). And the show coming to a sort of a full circle has bittersweet tones for me. On one hand, they’ve managed to destroy their freakin’ immediate environment and resources. And almost themselves too. Just like adults before them. (See why AI Zoot obviously has a point? Though it’s of course very ironic for this message about the destructiveness of human species as whole to be coming from the reincarnation of a very overtly destructive White Western Male idiot, invoked by another overtly destructive idiot of similar origins [unless I’m mistaken about Ram being a well-off Western brat pre-virus, just like Martin/Zoot]. Zoots and Rams? You and those who act like you are more culpable for the destruction than the rest of human kind, in case you’ve forgotten.). On the other hand, that doesn’t annul any of their constructive accomplishments and there is a hope they’ll try again and fail better. (Yes, yes, I know that I’m paraphrasing, butchering and possibly misusing a probably already over-paraphrased, over-butchered and over-misused quote of Beckett’s that stuck in my mind without its surrounding context. I absolutely hate when I indulge in my urge to do that, but the urge is just too strong sometimes :P.)
Tr,dl - I don’t really know which season is my favorite at the moment. If I had to choose one it would probably be based on something relatively smaller, like maybe a particular season featuring plenty of screentime for my favorite characters and/or relationships (and if I went by that, I’m still not sure which one I’d chose) or a special sense of nostalgic attachment I have for a season (in that case, s1 would be my choice because it’s the first I ever saw. I also appreciate s1 for the before-the-real-life-of-the-actors-started-affecting-the-plot-too-much factor. I mean yeah, there was the Paul-getting-written-out-due-to-the-actor-having-to/wanting-to-leave thing, but in the latter series this became the norm. I’m still not 100% over the sudden and numerous cast departures in s4.).
[TT December Meme]