November 12, 2007

I really thought pr0n would be more fun than this.

I'm still trying to read this damn porn book, because I think it's bad form for an aspiring social-sciencey person to not finish a book just because she doesn't agree with it. On the other hand, this particular book also makes her angry and italicized because it is full of what she regards as bad scholarship and bad logic and bad writing, and she got as far as page 46 this afternoon before slapping herself in the forehead, flinging the book down dramatically, and beginning to pace fretfully around the kitchen with her coffee cup while lecturing the cats about passing off this nonsense as social criticism.

The offending page, coming hard on the heels of several pages of AA-style narrative asking the reader to congratulate the author for his difficult journey to a moral and porn-free life, contained the following exchange: another author working on a study of pornography pointed out to Jensen that she had found some porn offering different messages and dynamics than the sort he was focusing on. She offered to provide him with a list of titles in case he wanted to draw some comparisons. He took her comment as an attack on his right to write about Gag Factor #10 or whatever, and he replied snippily that he was not interested in her recommendations. After relating this in the book he went on to say, "It might be easier or more comforting to pretend that the pornography industry isn't churning out thousands of overtly misogynistic films each year. But it's not clear why we would want to ignore that reality if we are trying to understand the real world."

It was precisely at the end of that paragraph that the forehead-slapping, book-flinging, and peevish pacing commenced. I cannot read this fingers-in-the-ears bullshit! Willfully ignoring a particular body of information while accusing those who try to offer it to you of being blind to your favorite information is a conservative trick, and I won't have it in my feminist camp. It's like the old blah blah blah we will not listen to your studies about the inefficacy of abstinence-only sex education you are only trying to keep us from spreading our good message OMG WHY ARE YOU BEING SO CLOSED-MINDED?

Crapola. I think this means I get to go back to Powell's and find myself something better to read. Give me suggestions.

Posted by dianna at November 12, 2007 09:30 PM

kristen did this like a month ago.

Posted by: michele at November 13, 2007 08:57 AM

Yes, but she was calling for novels and I am still on this I Am Reading Social Criticism, History, and Anthropology thing. I could maybe do some historical novels, but YA vampire books not so much.

Posted by: Dianna at November 13, 2007 09:09 AM

well i also suggested jon ronson, a NF by jane austen, and j. maarten troost. which are, respectively, social criticism, history and anthropology.

Posted by: michele at November 13, 2007 09:30 AM

I recently finished The Omnivore's Dilemma, which is spectacular (and recently out in paperback!), though it is perhaps not enough down your alley and too far up mine. If you weren't already vegan I would be tempted to suggest that it would totally change the way you look at food, although it still might.

And for those who enjoy OD, Michael Pollan's first book, The Botany of Desire, is also amazing.

I'm currently reading The Guide to California Planning, which is far less interesting (though potentially more help-with-the-job-getting), and re-reading Catch-22 which may be be old and fictional (plus I know for a fact that you've already read it) but still feels both contemporary and apropos of our country's current "foreign policy situation".

Posted by: Chris at November 13, 2007 09:33 AM

I like what I've read of No Logo. Gene loved it, I suspect you would too. I think Guns, Germs and Steel is about similar issues, but Gene said that was actually more exhaustive than he was looking for. No Logo is really well written and easy to get into, so there's that, and the woman who wrote it is smart and cites her sources like a mofo. A source citing mofo.

Hey, where did Typepad go?

Posted by: didofoot at November 13, 2007 09:39 AM

Michele: Oh, I didn't realize. I am sheepish and will go back and examine your recommendations more carefully.

Chris: Oooh, thank you. "About food" and "up my alley" are more or less synonymous. And paperback is cheaply delightful (although not really cheap in the way of the $5 mass-market paperbacks of my youth).

Kris: I am all over that source-citing mofo. Also, I deluded myself into thinking I would get more comments if people didn't have to log in all the time, but I failed to consider that most of those comments would be spam. I may reinstate TypeKey.

Posted by: Dianna at November 13, 2007 09:48 AM

I remember at least a few of the books you read in your youth, and I'll save you the embarrassment of mentioning them here.

P.S. I've been going through old photos, including many from high school. Some funny stuff there. I can neither confirm nor deny allegations that I have a photograph of you holding a plywood guitar.

Posted by: Chris at November 13, 2007 02:43 PM

Hey, wait a second. You've already outed me for my embarrassing adolescent political leanings, and I freely admit to my fondness for mediocre sci-fi and regrettable fantasy books. What's left that could possibly still have any sting in it?

Also, obviously those allegations are entirely unfounded; I have never had any association with plywood guitars of any sort. On the other hand, allegations that I have a picture of you posing provocatively with a quilt square made in Ms. Grande's statistics class are entirely founded. Unless that was Erik.

Posted by: Dianna at November 13, 2007 04:46 PM

Hi - this is random, I remember you from Jr. High, do you remember me?

I'm coming from a radical perspective and I also generally haven't liked stuff I've read by Jensen for many of the same reasons .. So my recommendations would be:

Karen Brodkin
"Toward a unified theory of class, race, and gender".
American Ethnologist 16 (3): 534-550.
If you can dig this up somewhere .. it had a big impact on the way I think about these things .. I think I read it on an online digital journal thing maybe JSTOR?

"Let me Speak!" Domitila - autobiography of a revolutionary Bolivian working class woman active in the 1970's trade union movement, very interesting on the relationship between gender and class in social movements .. along these lines I appreciated "Rebel Girl" by Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, one of the leaders of the IWW in the 1910's ..

"The Wages of Whiteness" - David Roediger .. The formation of a "white" identity in the U.S. through a Marxist/critical race studies lens. Serious book that's had a huge academic impact and like Jensen's stuff is a critique of a privileged identity, but done in a much much more impressive way..

"Black Skins, White Masks" - Frantz Fanon, a more cultural/psychological look at racial identity from a psychiatrist involved in the Algerian nationalist movement in the 60's.

Posted by: josh at November 14, 2007 12:27 AM

Best comment I've seen on the writers' strike so far:

Posted by: Ping at November 16, 2007 12:24 PM

Heehee! Truly, the industry is in dire straits.

Josh (belatedly): wait, I'm not sure. I remember a Josh from junior high, although last names are completely escaping me, but now I can't remember if there was more than one. Did you by some chance once teach our English class to draw Mr. Boffo? And how on earth did you wind up on my blog anyway?

I'm particularly excited about Rebel Girl, having just finished reading Out To Work and finding the whole union gender relations issue fascinating (and kind of infuriating). And I know I've heard The Wages of Whiteness mentioned before. I will check those out. Thanks!

Posted by: Dianna at November 17, 2007 06:42 PM