Friday, May 10, 2002

You Going to Eat That?

Can we clone animal muscle for the purpose of eating it? Not will we, but can we now? If so, how many people would be too squicked out to eat the stuff?

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Is it Clarifying Or Covering My ***?

Who can tell, really?

Janis has drilled into some of my questions in the fanfic/feminist post I made earlier this week. I'm not sure the conversation resulted in any real significant refinement of what I'm trying to articulate, but it helped some.

Part of what I'm trying to ask has to do with post-feminist society. Among other things, feminism encourages me to say "my culture isn't meeting my needs, I'm going to change that", and then proceed to do so. Now, as a third/fourth generation feminist, I personally can look around and see artifacts and structures built to serve mainstream culture, and those built to serve much thinner communities.

My question is, does it ever stop making sense to support those niche systems? For example, 20 years ago, writing fanfic, or forming a womyn's co-op, studying/teaching Women's Studies, or god knows what else, were ground-breaking, important, revolutionary things to do, necessary to the exploration of these non-mainstream community needs.

Shouldn't these things be becoming mainstream? Especially if we're talking about feminism, which has as its fundamental goal the abolition of the need for there to be feminism. If I support womyn-centric art galleries today, am I just prolonging the day until art becomes truly integrated? If I teach Women's Studies today without there being any integration with "standard history", is it just going to take longer to reach the day when women are discussed in history just like men, in high school history books?

So, this is really all just hitting the Inside/Outside of the System questions I asked. There's only so much non-working time spent at work I can rationalize here.... To get back to my current point, which is,

Has the time for change in terms of integration with the mainstream arrived yet?

So, where fanfic is concerned, by producing and consuming fan fiction, instead of producing and consuming the mainstream product it is spun off from [TV, basically], am I actively shooting myself in the foot, and putting off the day where I can see this stuff where I really want to? Am I holding back the next (r)evolutionary step? If every one of us who produces and consumes fan fic started writing spec scripts instead of posting stories online, would we change the face of TV?

Tuesday, May 07, 2002


"Leading authors have named 17th-Century Spanish story Don Quixote as the best work of fiction ever written, ahead of works by Shakespeare, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky." More >>

Upcoming Reviews

for the feminist website, The 3rd WWWave:

The Nesting Instinct

That Takes Ovaries! [pre-publication]

When I do book reviews, which I haven't for a while but am coming back to, my reviews are typically posted to, Barnes&, and my personal website. Reviews of feminist books appear on The 3rd WWWave site as well.

Where Parents Fear To Tread

Or, sex, drugs, and rock and roll

At lunch last week I was describing what I thought a rather sensible decision on my part with regards to my new apartment: the use of designated "nowhere to go" bins in each room. It seemed like a good idea at the time: I have these nice glass platters I rarely put to work, so why not use them as the general repositories in each room for, literally, stuff I can't deal with yet? Keys, bills I can't remit until the next paycheck, odds and ends I find as I unpack. You know. The stuff of life. Crap.

And I always walk around with that kind of stuff, wondering what to do with it, eventually losing it, getting annoyed -- I'm sure you know the drill. But they're things I can't process yet, so it's not like I can put them away.

Well, my lunch partner remarked that this was a very mature approach to dealing with keeping my life, not to mention apartment, in some semblance of order, and we spent a portion of our meal discussing working with yourself, with your own tendencies instead of constantly at cross-purposes. Hey, I admit it, I'm a slob. If I don't deal with things right away, or at least log that they need to be dealt with and then deal with the log regularly, it doesn't get done. On the job I use a computer to keep myself together, and it works well enough that I'm actually that disgustingly organized programmer who writes down what she does as it's happening. Oh, the horror. I document my code, too. But see, it's all just a ploy so I don't have to think about it later, all I have to do is look it up. I call it active laziness.

At home I've never really found the best method for providing a similar level of active laziness. I don't sit in front of a computer all day there, so logging my activities in a text file somewhere is not necessarily helpful. Now, I must admit that the Visor [a Palm OS device] has helped a great deal. I think it's the only reason I'm on top of things with regards to my story submissions to magazines. At any moment, I can pop open my palmtop, fire up MobileDB, and see where "It's The Smell" or "The Last Supper" are, and even where I think I might send them next.

I keep a file cabinet, but -- for whatever reason -- that only works with "done" things. Not pending ones. Maybe it's just training from all that filing as a college student. Filing is the thing you do when it's all over and done with.

I'm just trying to accomodate reality, and work with my tendencies instead of against them.

So, here I am sitting in my home office [oh, what heart-filling words] pondering the fact that people as a rule find it easier to accomodate our pets rather than our own natural inclinations, so of course I start thinking about teen sex.

You read that right.

Teen sex.

Ah, adolescence. A time of raging hormones, not to mention exploration of boundaries of self, society and life. Emotionally and physically.

I ask you the following:

Is it practical, is it sensible, to insist that you can effectively control everything your children face over the entire course of their formative years? When I say it that way, it sounds absurd, doesn't it? You can't live their lives for them, and you can't demand your local school ignore statistics and pretend teen sex doesn't exist, just because you want to avoid thinking about the subject.

So, how about accomodating reality, instead? Why not operate on the assumption that your children will encounter unpleasant aspects of the world? That they will face a bully at recess, even though they shouldn't have to. That they will meet up with the tragedy of a suicide, even though they shouldn't have to. That they will "do it", or know someone who does.

Pretending things away doesn't seem to have a very good track record, so why not take a more pragmatic approach, and prepare your children, instead of hiding things from them. If you really want your kids to do better than you, to not make the mistakes you made, to learn from your errors, you're going to have to share your errors with them, not just the lesson you learned, but the stupidity that got you in hot water in the first place.

Turn off the TV, open your mouth, and talk. And when you do, keep the following in mind.

Point the first:

The world is not always as you might wish it to be. No matter how much you may want it to be otherwise, no matter how remote and insular your environment, someone is going to get offered weed at a party, someone is going to get hot and bothered over another someone who hits their buttons. What can you do? Plan for it. Plan ahead. Because you cannot keep your children locked in a cage of your making and then expect them to survive, when, magically, on their 18th birthday, they become legal adults and you have to let them out.

Which leads us directly to point the second, being,

Your children will make mistakes, just like you did. What tools you equip them with to learn from those mistakes, to recognize them as mistakes, to move forward and build on them, are the tools they will use the rest of their lives.

Don't damn them with only half a kit.

Monday, May 06, 2002

So, It's a "Yes", Then

I've decided I like the current A&E Nero Wolfe, with Timothy Hutton and Maury Chaykin. Aside from the fact that Chaykin is too skinny [probably, what, the first time in TV history of that complaint being heard -- but oh, that's a rant for a different time], and is a little too physically active for my taste, I think he makes an excellent Wolfe. And from the start, I had zero misgivings about Hutton as Archie Goodwin. He's a marvel. Rex Stout's genius was not in the invention of Wolfe, it was Archie.

I had the good fortune to watch two dramatisations of Wolfe tales last night I had not previously read, which tends to make me more open to accepting something like this. I love the 'Mercury Theatre Players' aspect of re-using cast members, and of course the color and design are remarkable.