Home! How lucky tohave one, how arduous to make this scene of beauty for your family and friends. Friends! How we must have sounded, gossiping at the dinner table last night. Why, that dinner table is this breakfast table: “The boy in trousers is not the same boy in no trousers,” who said? Discontinuity in all we see and are: the same, yet change, change, change. “Inez, it’s good to see you.”
neednothavehappenedtobetrue asked: there is something really terrifying about children talking about how they want to kill people like you. it is scary. in a weird way, it is scarier than when people your own age say the thing, because nobody will respect how scared you are. they will say there is no reason to be afraid of children like that, but children are the future and I want the future to be a place where nobody thinks I should be killed.
yeah thank you for saying this
god the stories I could tell
the best story like this that I have is the time that I spent fifteen minutes telling this eleven-year-old that while I was babysitting he wasn’t allowed to make “lady gaga is a man” jokes about how being trans is gross and people were like, “why does that matter, he’s not hurting anyone” and then lo and behold his brother shows up to pick him up and is FULLY TRANS so um yeah someone clearly needs to talk to this child about things because the parents are NOT DOING THEIR JOBS
I was sitting in Bronxville, the little richie rich suburb that Sarah Lawrence claims to be in (it isn’t really, it’s in Yonkers). I’d just gotten a coffee (literally the only reason one goes to Bronxville because otherwise you have to give money to chains which is not an Immoral Thing To Do Of Which I Disapprove or anything but I prefer the alternative if it’s not too inaccessible for me at the time) and bought my aunt a birthday present at the book store. I was sitting on a bench. This group of middle grade boys, probably from 10-13, walked by, and I heard one of them calling the other a nerd. This woman who was parking her car and getting out of it with her kids said, “Don’t call him that! That’s not nice!” Like, right on, lady, right?
After she’d walked away, I heard one of the middle grade boys call the other one a fag. So I said, “Do you guys not like fags?” because I’m like that. We’re a couple of yards away from each other at this point, both hanging out near benches on the side of a busy street in a small town with lots of businesses on a sunny afternoon, but there’s no one else immediately near us who can hear what’s going on. I look at the boys, who are clearly kind of freaked out by my sudden intervention here, especially because they probably can’t tell exactly how old I am and because the tone and pitch of my voice announce me pretty unequivocally (I think) as a real life fag. And this middle grade boy wearing a brightly colored plaid shirt goes, “No, we kill them.” And they all walk away laughing.
It’s humiliating to talk about how completely this terrified me. I sat there shaking for like twenty minutes, trying to decide what to do. (I’d been reading before.) White and normatively masculine middle grade boys still really scare me, honestly, because I had Very Bad Middle School Experiences With Them. (Anime, being mocked for anime, sexual harassment, being targeted for reporting sexual harassment, &c &c.) My brain has not yet processed that I am twenty-one years old and as such they have no power over me. I still think of all of them as the Kids Who Can Do That Stuff To Me.
So eventually I noticed the woman who’d scolded the boys. For some reason I thought she was their mom. I was still shaking and scared and disoriented. She was sitting outside at a restaurant, eating with her kids, who were all little boys between about 3 and 7. I passed her a note explaining what had happened. She explained that she didn’t know those boys and had just scolded them spontaneously—the way I had, come to think of it. I thanked her for being so nice and went away. At one point she said to me, “I didn’t hear that word used,” not as though she didn’t believe me exactly, but in a different way.
I went into the Catholic church to try to calm down, which was stupid, because the statues just scared me; I went into the adjoining garden, and for some reason the statues there didn’t freak me out as much. I’ve never gotten scared of statues in a church before—actually, I love them on a typical day, I love all that Catholic foofy stuff, it’s the best. Maybe it was being alone in there?
so yeah thanks for listening the moral of the story is twofold:
never go to Bronxville
Bronxville reminds me of the wealthy LA communities I grew up in TO A TEE (down to style of dress)
this was on the Amanda McBroom album my parents had
neither of them are that into her—I’m not sure why we had this CD? but the only music I had was the stuff that was just like, lying around and no one else in the family wanted so like, haha, here we go, I was really into Amanda McBroom?
DID THEY ACTUALLY LIVE IT? WERE THEY IN THOSE CYBERSPACES? WERE THEY THOSE PRE/TEENS ACTING AS VIDEO GAME CHARACTERS AS VAMPIRE VERSIONS OF THEIR FAVORITE DRAGON BALL Z CHARACTER, ROLE PLAYING AT ELITE CHATROOM POOLS WITH DEPRESSED BOYS N GIRLS LIVING IN IRL ISOLATION?
THE TEXT BASED INTERNET WHEN A SINGLE SCANNED IMAGE OF YOURSELF WAS ALL YOU NEEDED TO SETTLE AN OCCASIONAL TRIFLE, WHICH ON A CATHOLIC SCHOOLYARD WOULD BE SETTLED WITH ‘I SWEAR ON THE CROSS’
THE TEXT BASED INTERNET WHERE YOU GOT REALLY EMOTIONALLY TIED UP AND HAD REAL RELATIONSHIP OBLIGATIONS THAT WERE FUCKING YOUR IRL LIFE UP SO MUCH THAT WHEN YOUR IC (IN CHARACTER) SELF ATTEMPTED TO KILL HERSELF IN A BLAZE OF WORLD-ENDING GLORY (SO YOU COULD LEAVE THE GAME AND RECLAIM YOUR IRL SELFHOOD), THE GOD EMPEROR PULLED OUT ALL THE FREEZA-STYLE STOPS & SHAMING WARRIOR RHETORIC TO STAY YOUR HAND AND THEN HIS MUN (CHARACTER PLAYER) ACCUSED YOU OF ACTING OOC (OUT OF CHARACTER).
WHAT IS ACADEMIC JARGON COMPARED TO A LIFE IN THE CHATROOM, THE WOMB? THE VIRTUAL STOOP, THE AGGRESSIVE VIOLENCE OF THE BLOCK, THE PROVE YOURSELF TO ME SURVIVAL LIFESTYLE CONTINUED
BUT WITH A STORYLIKE PROFILE, WITH A 99WPM TYPING SPEED FOR BATTLE, WITH A COMMAND OF VOCABULARY TO DESCRIBE THE MAGNIFICENCE OF YOUR VIRTUAL SELF AS IT ENTERED THE TAVERN
WHAT IS 90S CYBERSPACE TO SOMEONE WHO HAS NEVER HAD CYBERSEX WITH A STRANGER WITH THE RIGHT PROFILE? A BORING PEDOFILE CREEP? WHILE PRETENDING TO HAVE LIMBS AND EROGENOUS ZONES UNKNOWN TO YOUR PHYSICAL BODY?
WHAT WERE THESE CYBERFEMINIST ACADEMICS DOING ON THE 1990S INTERNET?
WHY GLAZE OVER THE BASE? THE EMBARRASSING INTERNAL SEXUAL WORLD WHICH WAS THE NET? THE PREDECESSOR TO NOW? WHY FORGET THE MICRO GOVERNANCES & TRIBE LAWS OF AOL GUILDS? OF BULLETIN BOARDS AND FORUMS? OF MIRC? ::WONDERS WHY THEY NEVER MENTION ALL THE UNDERSTOOD RULES OF MARKING ACTION:: OR HOW THE CHATROOM COMMANDS DICTATED OUR BEHAVIORS? THE IMPORTANCE OF A FONT AND COLOR, THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE 10 CHARACTER AND 16 CHARACTER SCREENAMES? THE MALICIOUS TOS BOOT?
[MUST BE THE LAG]
THE IRL LONG DISTANCE PHONE CALLS TO YOUR MUN FRIENDS…
ACADEMIA RECOUNTS NONE OF THIS BECAUSE ACADEMIA IS NOT ABLE TO COUNT IT IN THE FIRST PLACE
“THE NET IS VAST AND INFINITE” YET ONE CAN ONLY BUILD ARGUMENTS OFF OF WHAT HAS ALREADY BEEN PROVEN, THE LARGE MAJORITY OF WHICH HAVING BEEN CONSTRUCTED BY STRAIGHT/CIS WHITE MEN, BENEFICIARIES OF ANGLOCENTRIC, COLONIALIST, PATRIARCHAL POWER DYNAMICS
AND NOW THEY WANT TO FOCUS ON WHAT IT IS TO BE A GIRL?
SO I WONDER WHERE ARE ALL MY FORMER SAIYAN WARRIORS, MY ANDROID COMRADES, MY VAMPIRE THE MASQUERADE BRUJA FRIENDS, MY PUNK DORMITORY SAILOR SCOUTS AND ALT REALITY NINJA GOTHS, MY HALFLING SPACESHIP OPERATING BBOYS AND 6 FOOT TALL ELVEN DIVAS?
RIGHT. THEY’RE EVERYWHERE. LIVING THEIR LIVES. OUTSIDE OF THE IVORY TOWER.
WE HAVE TO SPEAK WITH NEW SYNTAXES TO TELL OUR STORIES.
some of my closest relationships were on gameFAQS message boards roughly a decade ago…this is nuts.
MIDNIGHT*STREET THEIF*F* from CHAT AVENUE DOT COM KID’S CHAT ROLEPLAYING CLIQUE SPEAKING
please raise your hand if you spent time on chat avenue / please raise both hands if you learned about sexual possibilities on chat avenue
so, my cultural education was pretty sporadic and weird—like, my dad was very insistent about me seeing certain classics of cinema and my mom was very insistent about Virginia Woolf being a genius and our babysitters and our parents’ assistants made sure I like, knew who the Beatles were
(I was raised largely by a coterie of my parents’ employees and didn’t really talk to other kids except to play pretend with them—I realize this is indicative of any number of things but at the moment I just want to impress upon you that my childhood was a lot more like say Colin’s in The Secret Garden than like, a childhood that people had in the 1990s)
beyond my parents’ Bare Necessities, which were eclectic and specific, and animated movies we rented at Blockbuster (I was terrified of any kind of moving picture until I was about 6 and terrified of anything live action until I was about 12) I had very little idea of what was going on in the world culturally
anyway, as a result of this, the first Dylan song I ever heard was this one, because the family had it lying around, because my parents are both Academy members and the Academy sends you stuff and is like, “this stuff is nominated for a thing, now vote on it”
this was also how I went through a Phil Collins phase (I’m not going to talk about that)
and an AMANDA MCBROOM phase—DO YOU KNOW AMANDA MCBROOM
anyway, the point is, if you want to become kind of an accidental “alt culture” person, a good way to go about it would be to spend your childhood almost entirely in isolation being cared for by a bunch of people who’ve dedicated their professional lives to ministering to the whims of people who’ve gotten good enough at pretending to be other people that they are very rich
the denouement of this whole introspective thing is of course: WHY, as an thirteen-year-old in this situation, did I feel that this song expressed everything I was feeling and experiencing?
I especially identified with this part:
this place ain’t doing me any good / I’m in the wrong town, I should be in Hollywood / just for a second there I thought I saw something move / gonna take dancing lessons, do the jitterbug rag / ain’t no shortcuts, gonna dress in drag / only a fool in here would think he’s got anything to prove
lot of water under the bridge, lot of other stuff too / don’t get up gentlemen, I’m only passing through
now you have to picture me at thirteen in a flowery dress cinched with a wide leather belt, Dansko clogs, and a maroon newsboy hat—I was ESSENTIALLY an aging and depressed Bob Dylan
gabrieldreadnoughthoax asked: how do you feel about Wonder Boys? i saw the movie first, whoops, and i don't know whether it's good but i am very attached to it. the book is the same, mostly because there's a lot of "college lit departments we are drunk," and there are some sweet moments of chabon doing the straight man/gay man friendship thing as only he can.
I haven’t read it or seen the movie! I really want to read it. I have the obvious weakness for “college lit departments we are drunk.” Like, have you read that weird Jeeves pastiche set at a writer’s colony by that vaguely transphobic man who writes very good comic prose? It’s good and very much hits that sweet spot.
I do have an intense affection for the Dylan track that was written for the movie. It’s how I got into Dylan, because the song got an Oscar nod and so my parents had a copy of the sheet music from the Academy and I just read the lyrics on there and was like WOW who is this guy WHAT THE HELL? It’s not the best Dylan song but I think it’s amazing and it’d be hard to underestimate how much its vocabulary, its attitude, and its images influenced me.
My boyfriend has read Wonder Boys! (My boyfriend is arguably more well read than me.) He liked it a lot!
Would I be mistaken in thinking that there are like, Weird Trans Characters in both Wonder Boys and Telegraph Avenue? That’s a thing, right?
But oh man, the straight man/gay man friendship thing. Oh man. Oh man.
Has anyone grabbed Chabon by the shoulders and said, “LISTEN, LISTEN HERE TO ME, MICHAEL, LISTEN. THAT SCENE IN MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH WHERE HE SEES HIS NEW FRIENDS WALKING DOWN THE STREET AND GLOWING; CAN YOU EXPLAIN WHETHER YOU FEEL THIS SCENE IS IN CONVERSATION WITH BRIDESHEAD REVISITED? MICHAEL DID YOU WATCH THE MINISERIES WHILE IT WAS COMING OUT? IT SURE SEEMS LIKE YOU DID MICHAEL”