Author Archive

March 12, 2011

“I have sex”

by f

Sometimes, all it takes is that simple admission: “I have sex.”

Our government is afraid of our sex lives. Given their way, the Right and the majority of our current Congress would deny our right to fuck.

According to our current government, sex outside marriage and procreation is a sin. Birth control is a sin. Abortion is murder. Any steps taken towards making having sex healthier and safer is a sin. And as America’s number one provider of reproductive health services, Planned Parenthood will bear the brunt of these hurtful ideological attacks. Tens of thousands of women (and men) who have relied on their reproductive health services will suffer.

If there is one thing that we’ve learned from the previous election cycle, it is that our votes matter. Our rights as individuals and citizens are being taken away. Congress has already come for our reproductive freedoms. Now they will come for our right to vote and hold municipal elections.

It’s our time to push back. It’s our time to tell others that we are sexual beings. We do have sex. We can’t punish ourselves — and we can’t punish others — by allowing our government to enact an anti-human agenda.

February 22, 2011

A question of freedom

by f

Flickr, via Jim Linwood

My friend S’s hit a rough patch. On our way home from the city today, we talked a little about it. Then, she asked me a startling question:

“Which would you rather have,” she asked, “personal freedom, or financial freedom?”

I asked her what she meant by that.

“I have financial freedom,” she said, “and you have a certain degree of personal freedom. You can go and do what you like during the day when your folks aren’t around to interfere.”

“I guess I do,” I said, staring out into the highway abyss.

S has financial freedom, but work eats up her time. She’s on call throughout. I don’t have those constraints. I can tell work to fuck off. And often, I do.

But I don’t have any money. I am always at my parents’ beck and call. They can trash me, my things, denigrate me in public, and use me as a whipping post. They interrupt me constantly. On weekends and the days that I are home, I feel so miserable I can’t think. I have to beg for permission to do anything.

Often, my privileges are taken away on a whim. I am subject to an insane level of scrutiny because I live at home. I earn enough to have small bursts of spending money, but not enough even to afford a small room to myself, and that is how I fund my daily activities. Anything beyond that, I can’t help myself.

So what kind of life do I prefer? Uncertainty but day-to-day contentment? Or security and general dissatisfaction?

I often thought to myself that I’d trade the small bursts of free happiness for a life of security. Now, I’m just not sure what I want. I have no idea how to answer that question.

However, it’s made me think a lot about my daily activities and how I live my life. I know I’m unusual. I fill my time with people that I like and do things I want, but I have very little material freedom.

*

January 20, 2011

Revolution, by Jennifer Donnelly

by f

Since I mentioned I couldn’t write book reviews, I’ve been doing nothing but writing book reviews. I’m going to crosspost this with another blog. I won’t make that a common thing. Obviously I don’t want my identity catching up with me, but this was too much to resist. Besides, it took me forever to write; I might as well get my bang for my buck.

*

As soon as I saw Revolution, I knew I had to buy it. There’s something haunting about both young women featured on the cover. (Whomever the cover artist was, they did a bang-up job.) Jennifer Donnelly previous YA novel, Northern Lights,  was based on the same real-life events that inspired Dreiser’s An American Tragedy.  Donnelly’s prose prose is very emotional and rich. I had high expectations for Revolution as a result, and the first few pages — hastily glimpsed at the Union Square Barnes and Nobles — didn’t disappoint.

Revolution’s protagonist is a damaged young woman, Andi.  Threatened with expulsion after an uninspired performance at her fancy-pants Brooklyn private school, her absentee father comes home from Paris to take her back there with him. He plans to supervise Andi as she writes her senior thesis, the one thing that stands between her and total scholastic ruin. She plans to write about the (fictional) French guitarist Mahlerbeau, with an emphasis on his connection to contemporary music.

Andi stays her father’s friend, G, in his Parisian loft. G, a historian, asks Andi’s father to investigate an urn he believes might contain the heart of King Louis XVI’s son, Louis Charles.

As Andi explores G’s loft, she finds two treasures: a priceless guitar, and a locked box containing a two-hundred-year-old diary.  The diary belongs to seventeen-year-old Alexandrine Paradis, an actress suddenly thrust into the politics of the revolution and royalty. From the moment Andi starts reading the diary, she feels a deep bond for its author.  The consequences of her find runs deep, and compose most of what is so wonderful about this novel.

January 19, 2011

Slow Day

by f

Please excuse the slowness. Subterfuge will be back to its usual programming tomorrow.

In the meantime:

What we're working on at Subterfuge Labs

January 10, 2011

Jane, the remake

by f

When I first read Jane Eyre, I was fifteen. I remembering cheering for Bronte’s fiery heroine as she moved from one hot mess to another. Bronte’s wrote Jane as a survivor and a woman of incredible integrity. Her struggles captivated me as a young reader, and still thrill me now.

Last night, I saw Jane at my local bookstore. The cover features the heroine staring into a gray sky, her skirt askance, her long hair blowing in the wind. I didn’t have to read the jacket summary to know that Bronte was involved. At $24, however, Jane wasn’t cheap. I went home and bought the ebook this morning.

This version of Bronte’s classic is set in the present day American northeast. Jane Eyre is now Jane Moore, a struggling college dropout. Lindner begins with the death of Jane’s parents. Impoverished and unable to continue studying, she is forced to join a nanny agency.

The agency places Jane Moore with a girl named Maddy. Maddy is the daughter of the famous Nico Rathburn, an aging and eccentric rockstar just past his prime. Her job takes her to Thornfield, now transformed into a majestic estate in Connecticut. Its broodiness is faithfully similar to the original.

January 8, 2011

Please stop breathing down my neck.

by f

I hate it when W comes over my house.

My parents like having him over because he does stuff around the house. Shelf to be installed? Brother to tutor? Opinion to be solicited? W’s their man. Whenever he makes his once-a-month weekend stay at our place, the family monopolizes him. That’s great.

My mother makes things very difficult for me while he’s here. I cannot talk to him or engage with him in any meaningful way. My every action is scrutinized. Not even a single moment of mine goes noticed, nor a single detail. My mother is meticulous and doesn’t let any of that go. It’s a blistering silent interrogation process so horrible I can’t even begin to describe it.

January 2, 2011

Untitled, by Marilyn Monroe

by f

I found this gem while looking through the excellent Fragments while at Barnes and Nobles today. The picture of Marilyn on that cover is arresting, but her mind seems to be as beautiful as she was.

December 24, 2010

This has to be fake.

by f

courtesy Postsecret Favorites via Flickr

Read: “I want an Arranged Marriage”.

No, you don’t.

No, you don’t want an arranged marriage.

(I understand it’s an emotional argument to make. I also understand that I can’t make blanket statements. I am going to violate every cardinal rule of argument or political correctness — you know, that convention that prevents us social anthropologists from saying that one tradition is inherently better than the other.)

The writer has chosen not to reveal her name. This is smart. She is clearly confused and her thoughts are badly organized. If she gave her real name, she would have been pilloried across the internet.

This story was a mishmash of disjointed orientalist stereotypes, and it should not have been run. I love the Frisky’s GirlTalk segments as a rule, but this is awful. I hope against hope that this doesn’t turn into a farce of Gilbert-style proportions.

December 22, 2010

Sex Tapes

by f

After it gets around to Princess that I am fucking her brother, she starts to tell me things in confidence.

I wish she wouldn’t (it’s pretty clear what I feel about her, and that feeling can be summed up in a few unprintable names) but it is a late night at the old Indian homestead. The lizards hump the fluorescent lightbulbs in the damp evening as we begin to talk. Our parents are already either sleeping or watching television so it’s just the two of us after dinner, disinterested in bombastic serials.

Princess is beautiful. I’ve mentioned it before, but I have to keep mentioning it. I say this as someone who is not a very visual person; her beauty is so profound that I get struck dumb by it. I understand what it means when otherwise strong men declare beauty as their point of weakness. For me it is an anchor that allows me to look past the voice and the affected mannerisms, that makes me eager to hear what she has to say. She is like Ernie’s enigmatic Lola from Hey Arnold, standing on the street corner in her pristine dress, looking into the horizon with liquid eyes.

December 20, 2010

Books for Lovers

by f

I was obvious about my intentions when I started this blog. I wanted to talk about sex. But books are better than sex sometimes. Not better, but different, and sometimes easier to handle.

A turn of phrase can get me unexpectedly horny for no good reason. Inappropriate places, too. I always turn to the line from Before Night Falls, where Arenas discusses how one of his partners and potential persecutors “dismissed him with his penis”. For a long time I took a cucumber and held it to my crotch, using my fake dick to try to dismiss others. It turned Arenas on; his prose salivates as he describes being dominated and tormented by his oppressors. Punishment and control can be sexy. Extreme control and punishment can be even sexier, something that produces resistance so sweet that the misery is almost worth it.

When I was young, I turned to books for emotional release. I needed to be loved. If not, I wanted to perceive others being loved. Different books held different promises of love for me. I turned to Dickens when I wanted to hold my ribs from being cracked open. I loved the Brontes (sometimes) for keeping me in the throes of real outrage. I adored Austen for her cool, clever quick-witted humor that hid quiet poignance.

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