September 23, 2007

Oh, fuck, she's reading Sylvia Plath again.

Every time I pick up The Bell Jar it's like running into an old friend. Its tone is just so comfortingly familiar that I can't find it in myself to be too worried by the fact that its tone is so comfortingly familiar.

Something's happened to my budding Portland social life, which was in its infancy a few weeks ago and is now nothing so much as moribund. I blundered into a social circle which, while exhaustingly drunken and sleepless, was nonetheless warm and welcoming -- but before I'd quite gotten my bearings I broke an odd little invisible rule and found myself right back out of the group. Now my invitations have dried up and I'm once again wandering around the city on my own trying to figure out how to get myself an impenetrable group of friends like everyone else has. I'm beginning to suspect that what I have instead is an aloof exterior, which is equally impenetrable but somewhat less exciting. This is probably the entire reason I felt compelled to pick up The Bell Jar in the first place.

Tonight, I have decided, I am allowed to go to Powell's and pick out one book from the room of social sciences. I'm leaning toward something that will fill me with purpose and righteous indignation. Then I will come home and make myself an enormous pot of coconut soup and a semi-enormous pan of brownies, and I will sit in the dining room reading and eating until I have finished this damn novel. Tomorrow I will start over with my new book and my sense of purpose and my chocolate hangover, and if it's the same city and the same people it will at least be a new week. Also it will be the first day of the fall term at work, and that is no time for bell jars. Sorry, Sylvia.

Posted by dianna at September 23, 2007 06:00 PM

I wish I had a brownie. But alas! 10:30 on a Sunday night is no time for baking.

Posted by: MoltenBoron at September 23, 2007 07:41 PM

You know, if you were following this schedule, I think you'd find Sunday night at 10:30 a perfect time for baking.

Or you can cheat and use a boxed brownie mix, cutting your preparation time so drastically that 10:30 becomes a totally reasonable starting time. Duncan Hines' Chocolate Lovers brownie mix is dairy-free. I'm just saying.

Posted by: Dianna at September 23, 2007 11:29 PM

20 hours is a long time to be awake if you're actually doing stuff. Perhaps that could be split in two with a siesta or something. I wonder what an actual functioning siesta schedule looks like.

What book did you end up picking? Do you find it sufficiently indignation-producing?

I was going to try a similar plan tonight, except with writing a homework assignment instead of reading. As of now it's now post-midnight, and all I have is a cup of tea and an unmodified document.

One day my schemes will prevail.

Posted by: Elliot at September 24, 2007 12:09 AM

I think both of you missed the necessary caveat to the 28-hour day plan, contained in the roll-over text to the image, that adhering to the schedule will drive you stark raving mad.

Also, while the Duncan Hines suggestion is appreciated and duly noted for future brownie-making endeavors, it would not have availed me at 10:30 on a Sunday night. The primary reason I can't bake on Sunday nights is the combination of the apartment's fire alarm, which goes off anytime anything is placed inside the oven (even if the oven's not on!), and my perpetually angry next-door neighbor, who would not appreciate the ear-splitting noise during a time normally reserved for sleeping by the tragically unhip. I had a bad experience a few months back trying to bake peanut butter cookies at 2 AM that I'd rather not repeat.

Posted by: MoltenBoron at September 24, 2007 08:06 AM

1. I am blameless on account of using Firefox. The rollover text doesn't show up for me.

2. If you bake the brownies in a heavy glass or ceramic pan, you can use it to knock out any neighbors who come around complaining. They won't remember a thing.

3. I picked Out to Work: A History of Wage-Earning Women in the United States. The jury is still out on indignation, but it looks promising. I've decided that my winter project this year will be to read every significant feminist treatise I can get my hands on. It's a big project, but then, it's already freezing fucking cold so I've got a lot of winter in which to do it.

Posted by: Dianna at September 24, 2007 10:03 AM

I've heard good things about Manifesta. Good enough to purchase. I keep meaning to read it, but haven't quite gotten around to it.

I really, really like Susan Moller Okin's Justice, Gender and the Family. But I worry that it's more a "feminist response to certain influential, but obscure to the general public, philosophers," than it is a "general feminist treatise."

Posted by: MoltenBoron at September 24, 2007 01:24 PM

I'm a big fan of The Second Shift, which talks about the "stalled revolution" of gender roles changing relatively rapidly at work but not quite as quickly at home.

I'd be interested to see what the list of "every significant feminist treatise" looks like. I have The Second Sex on my list of things to read, as well as a textbook and a new thingy on femininity from a transsexual (Whipping Girl), but that's about it. I almost audited a course on "feminist epistemology," but ended up prioritizing other stuff.

Does Portland have a different feminism vibe compared to Berkeley?

Posted by: Elliot at September 24, 2007 08:11 PM

I'm getting confused now between The Second Shift and The Second Stage, the latter being, from what I've heard which is not very much, Betty Friedan's bewildering belated retreat from feminism. I should investigate the former. I may not be able to resist gawking at the latter either, but I've told myself that if I'm going to read it I really need to read The Feminine Mystique first. But when I picked it up in Powell's it made my eyes swim, so I put it back down. I do, though, recall seeing an excerpt of Manifesta in something else and thinking it was promising, so perhaps I'll try that.

My problem is that I love shamelessly political social science writing, but I'm ambivalent about anything that bills itself as politics and frankly hostile to anything that bills itself as philosophy. So I am walking a fine line of enthralling reading material between two perilous wastelands of extreme disinterest. My winter reading list may fail to live up to acceptable standards for Serious Feminist Reading Lists from either the philosophical or the political sides of things, but, well, fuck 'em.

Posted by: Dianna at September 25, 2007 11:01 AM

As a warning, The Feminine Mystique is at the very top of my list of Books I Started to Read but Could Never Bring Myself to Finish. Granted, I was seventeen when this happened, but the entire list has something like four books on it, so I think it counts for something. Although I just realized that aside from one young adult war novel (I think) called Good Night, Mr. Tom, the list seems to be composed entirely of books by Douglas Hofstadter, the first being Le Ton Beau de Marot and the second being Metamagical Themas, which is still on my desk and looks at me reproachfully every evening as I pretend I don't see it and make a beeline toward my fiction de jour. So take that as you will.

Posted by: lisa at September 26, 2007 12:46 PM

Well, yeah. It looked like it might wind up on my list as well (which, unlike yours, has dozens of books on it at this point). And so did The Second Sex and so did The Female Eunuch. But I'm going to ambitiously start them all anyway and hope that maybe a) reading part of them will be an improvement over having read none of them, and b) someday my attention span will improve and I will finish them. Or I'll find a nice essayist and leave them all behind forever.

Did I mention that I never really got past the first chapter of Metamagical Themas? And that I gave it back to Ping to give back to you because I couldn't handle its reproachful looks any more?

Posted by: Dianna at September 26, 2007 02:08 PM

Huh. Formula for a lastingly famous feminist manifesto: The Adjective Noun. Discuss.

Posted by: Dianna at September 26, 2007 11:56 PM

The Phantom MENace?


Posted by: Elliot at September 27, 2007 12:40 AM


Posted by: Dianna at September 27, 2007 09:01 AM

***Thread Hijack***

PLEASE tell me you're going to the Roseland tonight at 8pm. TMBG. I saw Them last night at The Moore in Seattle and I was fully r0XX0rD.

***/Thread Hijack***

Posted by: Erik at September 27, 2007 09:12 AM

Splinter Cell: The Second Sex: Popcorn Eyeglasses.

Posted by: MoltenBoron at September 27, 2007 09:15 AM