I was pleased to see this post turn up on Jezebel today, because as someone who had similar experiences several times over the course of my life as a teenage girl I know that it's absolute bullshit to be shamed for your body when all you're doing is trying to be comfortable. However, I was not pleased to read the slew of shamey-victim-blamey comments that followed the piece. Are you serious Wendy? When a young woman decides to open up to you about the first time she's ever felt ashamed of her sexuality, it is not the appropriate time (as if there's ever an appropriate time!) to suggest that she's overreacting or deserved what she got.
While all the fool-assed-fools in the US continue to get hyped over Norman Rockwell's cheesy white person made-up-America nonsense, (trying to stay cool after reading some extremely stupid internet comments related to a very innocent post on Harpyness) I'll be over here enjoying Kehinde Wiley.
Baroque-inspired portraits of young black men and hip hop personalities, employing rich colors and "traditional" decorative floral patterns; an interesting, fun, and engaging take on portraiture for the 21st century, if you ask me. I first came across Wiley unwittingly, when my roommate Elliot put this painting up as the background on our communal computer. I loved it because it was fresh and unexpected, using a traditional medium and florid Baroque details to elevate young black men to an almost regal status. Then, a few weeks ago, Joe and I visited the Minneapolis Institute of Art and came across this room, where a painting of Wiley's was hung amongst the actual 18th century that he draws from.
His subjects look confident (defiant?) and comfortable, and stare right at you out of the canvas. I've always loved those qualities in portraits of women, so maybe it's just something I enjoy about paintings that depict people who have historically been kept out of the "art world," or who are usually supposed to show deference and obedience to the assumed white, male viewer.
Point being, boo to Norman Rockwell and his trite garbage, yay to Kehinde Wiley and his empowering contemporary interpretation of an old style I'm not usually that into.
Towards the end he sailed into an extraordinary
And anchored in his home and reached his wife
And rode within the harbour of her hand,
And went across each morning to an office
As though his occupation were another island.
Goodness existed: that was the new knowledge
His terror had to blow itself quite out
To let him see it; but it was the gale had blown him
Paste the Cape Harn of sensible success
Which cries: 'This rock is Eden. Shipwreck here.'
But deafened him with thunder and confused with
--The maniac hero hunting like a jewel
The rare ambiguous monster that had maimed his sex,
The unexplained survivor breaking off the nightmare--
All that was intricate and false; the truth was simple.
Evil is unspectacular and always human,
And shares our bed and eats at our own table,
And we are introduced to Goodness every day.
Even in drawing-rooms among a crowd of faults;
he has a name like Billy and is almost perfect
But wears a stammer like decoration:
And every time they meet the same thing has to happen;
It is the Evil that is helpless like a lover
And has to pick a quarrel and succeeds,
And both are openly destroyed before our eyes.
For now he was awake and knew
No one is ever spared except in dreams;
But there was something else the nightmare had distorted--
Even the punishment was human and a form of love:
The howling storm had been his father's presence
And all the time he had been carried on his father's breast.
Who now had set him gently down and left him.
He stood upon the narrow balcony and listened:
And all the stars above him sang as in his childhood
'All, all is vanity,' but it was not the same;
For now the words descended like the calm of mountains--
--Nathaniel had been shy because his love was selfish--
But now he cried in exultation and surrender
'The Godhead is broken like bread. We are the pieces.'
I've been back around Eclipse Records lately, and I have basically no self control when faced with a bunch of music I want to buy, so over the past few days I've picked up a few things that I may talk about in the relatively near future.
Leonard Cohen, Songs of Love and Hate
Bonnie Prince Billy, I See a Darkness
Tom Waits, Swordfishtrombones
Some kind of Nuggets II promo CD
Lauryn Hill, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, to revisit my 6th grade self
Staring at the Sea, a compilation of singles by the Cure that was mysteriously abandoned at the store, so I gave it a good home.
Nick Cave, From Her to Eternity
In 100% different news, I'm still thinking about Moby-Dick almost constantly. It's weird--I started reading it almost a year ago, and since then it's never really left my mind. I'm still amazed that something I had such low expectations for ended up kind of changing my life (at least in a literary sort of way). I'm getting a little hung up on the idea of re-reading it soon, but I can't be distracted from my goal of reading Ulysses before the summer is over. A goal that, unfortunately, keeps getting more complicated and lengthy.
I was able to talk to my adviser about this plan the other day, and he was kind enough to tell me all the things I'll need to do/read before I even start the book as well as a few things I should be reading while reading Ulysses. Obviously it was very cool of him to help me out, but blaaaaah that just added like, 6 books to my reading list, and those 6 books are only extensions of the Ulysses project! I am going to be so pissed off if this book turns out to suck.