Category Archives: Writing

#PhDTidBits David Foster Wallace Archive Visit No.4

Reviewing the notes taken during a second visit to the David Foster Wallace Archive at UT Austin in 2015, as I prepare for a fourth visit to The Harry Ransom Center.

An eerie finding: Wallace’s handwritten notes in the margins of Morris Berman’s Coming to Our Senses point to the logic that suggests, as Herbert Marcuse does, that intellectualism is the antithesis of fascism. And to back this up, Berman’s book cites the amount of PhDs amongst the Nazi hierarchy. Who knew?

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More Comments Attached to @BenShapiro’s @realDailyWire “#ArianaGrande Gets Upset With Objectification Of Women. Good. Now She Should Stop Objectifying Women” article thing.

A good way down the comments’ list, where things usually start to get nasty, we have the following comments (and having read through all of the comments attached to the article, thus far, you get the impression that the people commenting very much feel that if Ariana Grande wants to stop people from objectifying her, to stop them from viewing her as just a sex object, then she’d better start reading from the Puritans’ handbook, cover her body entirely, maybe stay at home darning and stuff, and basically stop causing her own problems – which mimics Mr. Shapiro’s thoughts on the matter, it would seem):

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Chuck Burns7 days ago 
Objectification of women? Maybe not always in crude terms but men are sexually attracted to the females of our species, and especially a young beautiful sexy specimen like Adriana Grande. That is a natural attraction that draws men to women and women to men. The young man was rude and classless to say what he said for her to hear it but that is who her audience is. Her classless, crude lyrics appeal to them. You reap what you sow.
Most men would think something sexual like what the young man said, think about Miss Grande in a sexual way. Me too.
         

Liberals-are-asshoIes7 days agoShe’s a dumb biitch but I’d DO her all night long!

Gumbo Joe8 days agoMaybe if Ms. Grande would close her legs once in a while she wouldn’t be objectified; I would do her; if my wife let me. (intentionally crass to make my point and my wife said no.)

Vlad Piranha Gumbo Joe8 days agoThe best critique I’ve ever heard about this was incredibly crass too. It was some random and incredibly sarcastic comment online about the ‘sexual revolution’. It said “I like women more now that they’re liberated. It’s easier to get them to put out”. Little do confused girls like Ariana Grande know that this is the unspoken attitude of the people she prances around for.

Deapster Vlad Piranha8 days agoAbortion has always been a man’s issue. Girls, be very wary of beta males who are pro-abortion                 

Mister Smith Deapster8 days ago 
Advice every father should provide to his daughter.

It’s important to recognise the nastiness, the hypocrisy, and the prevalence of rape culture rhetoric in Mr. Shapiro’s piece as a whole, including the attached comments. Rape culture thinking is everywhere, and to combat it it needs to be called out. Mr. Shapiro, as a media personality, must apologise for this poorly put together article.


To Clarify on @BenShapiro’s thoughts, via @realDailyWire, on @ArianaGrande’s TOW

Here’s the bit from Mr. Shapiro’s article where he connects Ms. Grande’s “bad girls” lyric with “waiv[ing] consent,” just so it’s clear.

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From Mr. Shapiro’s article on The Daily Wire:

This is an actual lyric from “Dangerous Woman”:

Don’t need permission

Made my decision to test my limits…

All girls wanna be like that

Bad girls underneath, like that

This isn’t Grande just speaking for herself. It’s Grande speaking for all women. That’s why she has an audience – she’s not just speaking about her personal experiences or personal desires, she’s making a deliberate case that women generally oppose boundaries, that they’re all “bad girls underneath,” that women generally want to waive consent (emphasis Mr. Shapiro’s).

Looking at the first line – Don’t need permission – this could mean anything, it’s rather vague, and so to hang Ms. Grande out to dry as an objectifier of women is stretching it a bit.

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Onto the second line – Made my decision to test my limits… – again, a bit vague, nothing much to hang your hat on.

The third – All girls wanna be like that – stating a universal viewpoint, but again it’s not clear what all girls want to be like, so…

Line four – Bad girls underneath, like that – apart from the use of “bad” as a modifier for the noun “girls,” there’s nothing here to suggest that Ms. Grande is “making a deliberate case that women generally oppose boundaries,” or that they “generally want to waive consent.” Mr. Shapiro’s is not a piece of objective reporting, it’s personal #RapeCulture informed bias – and he, like Ms. Grande, also has an audience (just saying (double standards, anyone?)).

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Mr. Shapiro’s place in #RapeCulture is clearly not at the levels of a #BrockTurner, but his attitude is as unhelpful and as unwelcome as that of an #AaronPersky – and that can never be a good thing. And as well as Mr. Shapiro’s thoughts on this, what does The Daily Wire @realDailyWire think of such opinions being put forth on its site by its editor-in-chief – happy to promote #RapeCulture?

(And here’s a further link to a site that publishes the entire lyrics of “Dangerous Woman”)


Yet More on @ArianaGrande’s Thoughts on the Objectification of Women (#TOW) – An Inspection of the Comments Attached to @BenShapiro’s “Ariana Grande Gets Upset With Objectification Of Women. Good. Now She Should Stop Objectifying Women” article thing.

Not convinced we live in a rape culture? Well, let’s trawl through some of the comments inspired by Mr. @BenShapiro‘s recent article at The Daily Wire. We’ll do these one at a time over the next couple of weeks so you can, if you so choose, savour them individually to get a flavour of the woman-hating rhetoric that dominates the site w/r/t Mr. Shapiro’s opinions of Ms. Grande’s reaction to the “hitting that” incident.

Ricky Perrys Parakeet says (with link to RPP’s profile thing):

Rick Perrys Parakeet6 days ago

Dress like a wh^re

Act like a wh^re

You’ll be treated like a wh^re

In reply to this, the following comments:

Bythepeople4thepeople Rick Perrys Parakeet6 days agoExactly. Something we can agree on
                       



Mo86 Rick Perrys Parakeet5 days agoAbsolutely right.
  



Skiddle DeDe Rick Perrys Parakeet5 days agoBoom!


So, according to RPP and buddies, Ariana Grande is dressing like a whore, acting like a whore, and thus deserves to be treated like a whore – whatever that means. It would be helpful, here, if RPP and pals could spell out for us their definition of the word “whore.” What does it mean to be called a whore? What kind of activities must one partake in to be classed as a whore? If one does not count oneself as a whore must one be considered a whore in the eyes of others?

In actuality, Ms. Grande dresses as she pleases and acts as she pleases, presumably, and this is sufficient for her to be treated in whatever manner such woman-haters see fit to throw in her direction.

All helped along by Mr. Shapiro’s opinion that Ms. Grande’s lyric w/r/t being a “bad girl” equates to a woman choosing to “waive her right to consent.” The more you stop to think about Mr. Shapiro’s comment w/r/t the “consent” issue, the more #RapeCulture-ish it sounds. It would also be helpful for Mr. Shapiro to clarify his exact thoughts, here, because this sounds like an incitement to sexual violence.

More @ArianaGrande’s TOW to follow – tune in again soon.


More on @ArianaGrande’s Thoughts on the Objectification of Women

A quick look back at Ben Shapiro’s comments on Ariana Grande’s Twitter outburst shows us the extent to which rape culture rhetoric dominates seemingly innocuous comments. Take Mr. Shapiro’s piece, written for The Daily Wire. It’s not overly long. It’s not massively critical of Ms. Grande. It kind of makes a point that you might agree with – until you stop to think about what it is that he’s actually saying.

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In a nutshell, Mr. Shapiro sees Ms. Grande equally responsible for the objectification of women as the young man Ms. Grande complained about w/r/t the old “hitting that” comment. Mr. Shapiro voices his concerns over the objectification of women, and points out that this is a bad thing that should not happen – all good stuff, you’d think. However, Mr. Shapiro makes plain his feelings on Ariana Grande’s conduct in public, starting with her Twitter account profile pic. He says that in the picture Ms. Grande is “crouching while naked,” which I’m not actually sure that she is (she actually looks like she’s wearing a one piece body suit – dancers wear them), and even if she were, you can’t see anything offensive or inappropriate for the setting in which it appears.

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Mr. Shapiro then quotes Ms. Grande’s words at length, before stating that Ms. Grande’s lyrics and those of her associates (Mac Miller) objectify women and that she should stop this behaviour. He picks up on one particular lyric that speaks of “bad girls” and that he takes that phrase as meaning “that women generally want to waive consent.” To paraphrase Ms. Grande, here: wtf. Ms. Grande’s lyrics, as a popular culture artist, means that they are never going to be all that explicit – and what exactly is wrong with someone wanting to access a bad girl persona? By bringing the consent issue to the fore, Mr. Shapiro is saying that if such women are raped then that’s their fault – and that’s exactly what rape culture rhetoric does, it justifies horrific thoughts w/r/t the treatment of women.

Next, Mr. Shapiro quotes more of Ms. Grande’s lyrics:

I’m talkin’ to ya

See you standing over there with your body

Feeling like I wanna rock with your body

And we don’t gotta think ‘bout nothin’

Then he asks: “Is the crude and ugly phrase “hitting that” a good deal worse than this description of a sexual relationship with no emotional connection?” Now, the four lines could actually be interpreted in quite an innocent way. There’s nothing overtly sexual about the lines, but Mr. Shapiro chooses to treat them as such. He also finishes by stating that Ms. Grande’s “art degrades women by objectifying them and contributes to a culture of objectification that she rightly opposes when it’s applied to her.”

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Mr. Shapiro’s response to Ms. Grande’s feelings of being objectified as a woman is poorly thought out, lacks evidence, and uses common clichés to do with how a woman should behave and present herself to the world. Mr. Shapiro does not wish women to be objectified, but he’d kind of like it if they just stopped dressing so provocatively, and waiving their consent and all. The History of Stupidity prospers at Mr. Shapiro’s keyboard, sadly.


On @ArianaGrande’s Thoughts on the Objectification of Women

It feels like a tiny step forward when an A-list pop star (and not an overt, flying the flag for feminism pop star) is willing to come out to say some stuff about the objectification of women. It is a tiny step because it comes from a person deeply embedded within a system that uses the objectified body of woman as a form of marketing, a tool with which to maximise profit. And it is a tiny step because at 23, Ariana Grande is yet to experience the point at which the objectification of her body ceases to be an issue (and at which point she may, or may not, choose to undergo certain procedures, ensuring a prolonged objectification of her body, paradoxically). However, it seems that Ariana Grande’s recent outburst, vis-à-vis the “not a piece of meat” business, has the potential to mark a new chapter in the History of Stupidity of gender relations.

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A myriad of approaches awaits anyone choosing to engage with such a topic. One might choose to lend one’s support to Ms. Grande, no questions asked, like Ashley Edwards Walker, who views Grande as being “totally right” in her actions and words w/r/t the Mac Miller fan who applauded Mr. Miller for “hitting that.”

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Or, one might take the view that Ms. Grande is complicit in the ongoing objectification of women in popular culture, like Ben Shapiro does when stating that “when Grande isn’t implying that all women are bad girls, she’s participating in the pop music trope of offering herself to the world at large. Her songs aren’t about love with a particular fellow – they’re general propositions.” For Shapiro, Grande is moaning about behaviour that she helps to promote – she’s merely a heteronormative-pop-princess-prostitute in Shapiro’s opinion.

 

Or, one might adopt the @PiersMorgan approach of just shutting down a conversation by simply stating that the person in question is merely pissing and moaning for reasons to do with self-promotion (a marketing stunt). Admittedly, we’re straying slightly, here, because the Morgan stuff has to do with @Madonna and @LadyGaga, but the general approach adopted by Morgan applies equally well to Ariana Grande’s experience of a culture that views women as less than equal to men.

But, and here’s where the story gets a bit less pop-princessy, what if every instance of a young guy growing up thinking that a person like Ariana Grande is a “thing” whose sole purpose is to be “hit” ends up with that guy taking the Brock Turner view of women that if they’re there, they are there to be fucked: whether conscious at the time, or not (excuse the language).

Applauding another man for “hitting that” while the “that” in question (Grande herself) is sitting right next to the man being congratulated is, perhaps, on the lower end of the rape culture spectrum, but it is on the spectrum, and it does speak of a rape culture that seeks to dehumanise women’s bodies in order that the Brock Turners of this world can continue their rapist activities, and that the Aaron Perskys can continue to absolve the Brock Turners of their rapist ways, and that the Commission on Judicial Performance can thus clear the Perskys of any wrong doing in what would otherwise be viewed as either gross incompetence, or just plain bias.

 

So, what next for Grande? Get tagged with the feminist label? Get shut down by her record label? Suffer a backlash like that of a Kesha Sebert type performer? Or, flick the bird to all who would have her shut her pretty little mouth, and keep raging longer, louder, and harder? Let’s hope for the latter.

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Spare Money??? #Conceptual #Art

If you do have some spare money knocking about, why not take a punt on this piece of Conceptual Art. With perhaps a nod in the direction of Carl Andre, this Untitled piece speaks of #Austerity, #Unity, #Resistance, and probably a great many other things if you stop long enough to actually consider it.

 

It is currently listed on Ebay, with all proceeds from the sale going directly to Shelter (England and Scotland), for the benefit of those persons living without a home. The sale price is ambitious, but in a world where Donald J. Trump gets to be President-Elect of the U.S.ofA., who’s to say we can’t achieve the full price?

Dig deep, winter is coming, and being homeless is no fun, no matter where in the world you live.


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