To open this post, I’d like to repeat something one of our friends said on Twitter last night. And I quote: “My least favorite question in the world: ‘What is the theme of this film(/novel/play/poem/song)?’ I can’t pick just one theme for ANYTHING.”
To which I responded: “That’s because if something has a single, easily identifiable theme, it’s Doin It Wrong.”
In high school, I developed an aversion- well, let’s be honest and call it a burning hatred– toward most of modern theatre. This is relevant, I promise. Because the reason I hate modern theatre so much is that, when I first started to really study it, I had a whole bunch of anvil-dropping, symbolism-laden, theme-heavy crap driven into my head. It’s a problem that modern playwrights (and I think there’s a reason it’s specifically playwrights, but more on that later) have, where they think they have to have an Theme.
I’m giving that a capital letter because that’s the amount of importance that scholarship assigns to it. Literary scholarship frelling loves Themes. And it gets everywhere. In any given English class, middle school or high school or whatever, the students are going to be asked to identify the Theme of whatever they’re reading. Same goes for theatre classes, poetry classes, film classes, music classes, et cetera et cetera. Seriously, think back to the classes you’ve taken. If you haven’t ever had to answer that question, well, I’m sending my completely-hypothetical improbable future children to whatever school you went to.
By. S. Lucy
Okay, so it’s, you know, that day. The one day of the year where we’re expected to buy into commercialized crap about various $5 methods of showing love, almost as if it gives you a pass for affection on the rest of the year. The day where you feel most marginalized or unvalidated by society for being single, or aromantic, or too busy for it by saving the world from evil space-cancer wielding micro-organisms (or on that strain, discovering potential new homeworlds for humanity), you know, just not into the whole “I love you, see? The Russel Stover proves it!” tripe.
Now, I’m not at all bitter because of a lack of love life. On the contrary, I’m in love with a wonderful Evil Genius who treats me better than most Catholics treat their Rosaries… err, should treat their Rosaries. But I can honestly say my favorite VDay ever was the year my little brother and I were snowed in at our very rural house, and spent the whole day building each other into snowmen, and racing the dogs down the hills. Oh so very Hallmark, in all the ways you can’t pay for. And you know how I’m spending this Valentine’s day? Margarita shooters with Rin and DF, with the foreseen goal of total shitfaced unconsciousness. Very lacy, red-ribboned romantic, no?
Not that I’m against romance either, really. I mean, I’m a bit of a grudgingly mushy sap myself sometimes, when properly provoked. And not that I think nobody should celebrate Valentine’s Day EVARRR, because it’s evil and conformist and kills small Papillons in its spare time. Hell, I even got a bouquet of roses (though to be fair, it’s also an anniversary, and roses are my favorite flower. And Evil Geniuses really do know how to woo a faerie). Rather, I’m going to outline some of my favorite problems with the holiday… well, holidays in general really, with a few VDay-specific examples.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not in perfect mental health. Neither are most of my friends- birds of a feather, et cetera. We’ve all got problems. The Icarus Project calls it “mental dis-ease”- not a disease, something intrinsically wrong with us that needs to be fixed or cured, but something that, however frequently or infrequently, causes us some degree of discomfort.
We discovered the Richmond chapter of the Icarus Project- it’s a radical mental health network, focused on peer support, creativity, and collaboration- a couple months ago. Between us we made it to a couple meetings, but Richmond is really too far away to make it on a regular basis, so recently we started our own chapter here in Staunton. We’re taking our mental health into our own hands.
by D.F. Savage
I was planning to write an article discussing Detroit and Ruin Porn as described on Coilhouse, the delicate and facinating balance between the photojournalistic responsibility to show the nitty-gritty and the paternalistic impulse to put devastation in a dramatic spotlight, do nothing, and fail to notice when the subjects of your pity manage to pull themselves out of the muck and the mire. I was going to say something about how we ought to be able to bring awareness to ruin as well as revitalization anywhere it exists, and be able to see and showcase the beauty of abandoned buildings and rusted out trains, and we should know to keep those separate. But, really, Coilhouse already covered a lot, and my thoughts on the subject can be easily written as concisely as they just were.
Which makes this a very short post.
So, instead of ending it here, I’d like to talk about another bug that just bit me, and get some of my Coilhouse fanboying out of the way.
by D.F. Savage
By now I’m sure everyone’s heard the fuss about the TSA’s new regulations. In case you haven’t, the TSA is basically the airport police. It stands for transportation security authority or some such. And in the never ending Paranoia Race, they’ve stepped up security again. No longer do you merely need to show up five hours early and not come into contact with any fluid ever. Now you get the delightful choice between being groped by a totally-friendly-and-respectful-I’m-sure security guard or going through a fancy new scanner which takes a naked picture of you and, like everything else these days, gives you cancer.
I am not happy about this. In fact, I’m so unhappy I canceled a vacation to Machu Piccu with my family. It’s not like I have a problem with people seeing me naked. I’m a goddamn porn star. In fact, I’m somewhat frustrated that most of the reason people are making a big deal about this is simply the being-seen-naked bit. I mean, of course we all have a right to our privacy! Our bodies are not public property! But, at the same time, most of us have been brainwashed into hating those bodies by the media and all that fun stuff, which is sad. Being ashamed of our bodies shouldn’t be so standard that a stranger seeing you naked is automatically the worst thing ever and everyone must feel the same about it. It’s also very telling that, while such invasions of privacy and violations of human rights have been common place for women, trans folk, and people of color for centuries, it’s only one a straight, white, cis man gets upset that the whole thing comes to public attention.