Invisible Women

1. Jonathan Franzen takes inspiration only from himself.

2. Dorothy Cooper can’t vote and this is a fundraising opportunity. No, no, not to raises funds to get Cooper to the DMV. I swear to god, things like this make me want to quit political blogging. Who stands around asking themselves “How can this woman’s injustice benefit us?”

3. Obviously, a text can’t be non-linear, only multi-linear. And I’m glad to see Shelley Jackson getting props, but she wasn’t the only woman. She is, however, the only real woman mentioned in this article.

4. Tom Piazza has a list of music to go with his new book, which I am excited to read.

5. This is quite possibly the creepiest thing I’ve ever read. But in good news, this and the other column Gene Lyons wrote will help Professor Melissa Harris-Perry when she needs to get a restraining order against this fool.


10 thoughts on “Invisible Women

  1. Well, regarding the fundraising, this beats knocking on doors to raise money, which I heard is being done in Nashville (and would get them shot in Memphis). All things considered, if I drove to Nashville last weekend and didn’t give the TNDP $150 for tickets to a lousy meal, that tells you the condition they are in. As much as I once defended Chip, the TNDP is screwed until he is gone.

    Second, she shouldn’t HAVE to go to the DMV because no photo ID should be required, as those can be faked easily. Any time the TNDP has a chance to bash the GOP, they need to take it, and this fits just fine.

  2. Regarding #5, I have mixed feelings. I’m not completely dismissing Harris-Perry’s argument, such as it is, nor am I denying that Lyons’ column is more than a bit creepy. I think he makes a good point very creepily. He shits all over that point with the clumsy sexism, at the very least, but the point is still there. Of course, I’m looking at this as someone who doesn’t have much skin in this game. I didn’t and won’t vote for Obama, and I’m not a white liberal. Besides, I’ve heard Harris-Perry make some good arguments about other things, and her turn as an Obama apologist (by whatever means) doesn’t diminish that for me.

  3. I will say that I’ve had some experiences with white liberals saying things to me like “maybe the Tea Party/Birthers are right about x,y, or z about Obama” and, often, x, y, or z aren’t actual Tea Party or Birther opinions about Obama. I haven’t been able to tell if this is because people are so disturbed by their friends and neighbors acting like they’ve lost their damn fool minds that they’re doing some kind of bizarre revision of Tea Party/Birther positions in order to reconcile their understanding of their friends and loved ones with the positions their friends and loved ones hold by willfully misunderstanding what their friends and loved ones are saying into something that makes sense to them or if they’re giving up on Obama.

    If I were not intimately acquainted with how white people are, I might interpret these kinds of things solely as “white liberals are giving up on Obama.” But I’m still leaning towards “white people do not want to face how stupid their family and friends can be.”

    But I sure as hell understand how someone could hear exactly what I hear and come to the opinion that white liberals are abandoning Obama for really fucked up reasons.

    Now, let me be clear, I think people have legitimate reasons to feel disenchanted with Obama and I’m not going to sit here and try to talk anyone out of that. I’m just talking about this bizarro subset of people who appear to be floundering to find some reason to be okay with not liking Obama.

    So, if that’s where Professor Harris-Perry is, too, I don’t blame her being shocked and upset and wanting to shock and upset others in order to snap them out of it.

    But if she’s just upset that white liberals are upset with Obama because he’s not far enough left to suit them, then she’s entitled to her opinion, but for me, the stakes are lower. Liberals SHOULD push the president to the left, if they can.

    But Lyons. I’ll be honest, as a woman… well, not as A woman, but as this particular woman, who’s been through the particular set of things I have, his constant references to her looks, his desire to rank her in comparison to other women, and his belittling of her intellect raises such red flags for me that I literally cannot see his point.

    A man who talked about a woman like that in my vicinity in real life would find me moving far away from him.

    Which, you know, fine. Obviously, I’m not his audience.

  4. Yes, B., that belittling of her intellect is what I had a problem with, too. Also, I think Lyons (perhaps due to a little bit of liberal white male privilege) fails to see what you’re talking about: namely, why Harris-Perry has a mountain of good reason for suggesting what she did (which, to her credit and Lyons’ detriment, was not presented as an end-all unifying theory as Lyons characterized it). For him to pile on his blunt, reeking-of-privilege attack with sexism just makes him look like an ass. Whether or not she’s overstating her case, or ignoring the myriad legitimate reasons even white liberals (as opposed to curmudgeonly black radicals) might be skeptical of Obama right now, that doesn’t excuse Lyons’ bullshit. I’d much rather see someone constructively debate Harris-Perry on the merits of her argument, and on the issue of legitimate white liberal discontent with Obama, rather than take cheap potshots. Of course, I’d rather see Harris-Perry debate just about anyone about anything, and the more constructive and in-depth the debate, the longer she stays on the screen. Yowzah.

  5. on #1: I know you hate Franzen, but what he has to say does make some sense. When you write, you’re always aware of what you did before, and trying to go beyond it, put into practice what you learned. on #3: A certain woman blogger who lives in Nashville wrote a stunning hypertext or two herself… And may I just say I hate that term “drill down” in the text. What man thought that one up? I have always thought that what you did when you hit a link on a hypertext was to “open out” the text.

  6. At this point, Franzen could really say “And be sure to wipe after pooping!” and it would annoy me, frankly.

    #3 bothers me, as I said on some other comment, because the guy creates a history of hypertext fiction that excludes all the women–except Jackson–who were writing it and then declares that it failed as a genre because most of the writing sucked.

    Well, by that measure, literature has failed. Television has failed. Every art form ever has failed. Because most of the art created in those mediums sucks. That’s how it works.

    Plus, it’s weird that he could even look at, say, StorySpace’s catalog and come to the conclusion that a representative sample of what hypertext writing is should be mostly men and one woman.

    If his sample sucks and he finds the writing sucks, that’s not necessarily a problem of the medium. It could be a problem with his selection bias. And I’d argue that’s the case.

    I’m glad he’s excited about his hypertext and I think, like I said in the “about” of “The Witch’s Friend,” it is kind of retro-future-y. I think he’s absolutely right about that dynamic.

    But his nonsense about being such a better writer than everyone who wrote hypertext before and that’s why he will succeed where others have failed, when he doesn’t seem to have read any but one of the women writing in the medium?

    It just makes me roll my eyes so hard.

    And thus makes me unsurprised when he takes up terminology like “drill down”.

    Yes, we get it. You have a cock. It’s bigger than Michael Joyce’s and therefore you will use it in ways he cannot!

    Some day literally discussions will move beyond that. Or I will get a huge purple but otherwise realistic looking dildo to pull out whenever the discussion turns to dick measuring. Just so I can compete!

    Ha ha ha ha ha.

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