Saturday, July 23, 2005

"Nay, nowhere, all the fulsome data of most uncovered and naked backrunning of Nature, nor in the Columns of our most jaundiced Journals, can be gathered the vaguest Idea of the Means by which she puts her Heart from her Mouth to her Sleeve, and from her Sleeve into Rhetorick, and from that into the Ear of her beloved. To the Ancients, Love Letters and Love Hearsay (though how much Luck and how much Cunning this was on the part of the Outrunners in the Thickets of prehistoric probability, none can say, for doubt me not but from Fish to Man there has been much Back-mating and Front to Front, though only a Twitter of it comes out of the Past) were from like to unlike. Our own Journals teem with Maids and their Beards, whose very highest encomiums reach no more glorious Foothold than 'Honey Lou,' or 'Snooky dear,' or 'my great big, beautiful bedridden Doll,' whose Turnabout it would seem, is only one side proper to the Lord."

Djuna Barnes, excerpted from "July" of The Ladies Almanack

"It may be true...

...that more men than women like to bloviate and 'bat things out'—socialization does count for something. So do social rewards: I have seen men advance professionally on levels of aggression, self-promotion and hostility that would have a woman carted off to a loony bin—unless, of course, she happens to be Ann Coulter. But feminine psychology doesn't explain why all five of USA Today's political columnists are male, or why Time's eleven columnists are male—down to the four in Arts and Entertainment—or why at Newsweek it's one out of six in print and two out of thirteen on the Web. According to Editor and Publisher, the proportion of female syndicated columnists (one in four) hasn't budged since 1999."

Katha Pollitt in 16 March 2005 issue of The Nation.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

"It is no longer...

...the myths which need to be unmasked (the doxa now takes care of that), it is the sign itself which must be shaken; the problem is not to reveal the (latent) meaning of an utterance, of a trait, of a narrative, but to fissure the very representation of meaning, is not to change or purify the symbols, but to challenge the symbolic itself."

Roland Barthes in "Change the Object Itself" from Image-Music-Text, and quoted by Craig Owens in his fabulous essay "The Allegorical Impulse: Toward a Theory of Postmodernism"

"When I write essays now... an American, I feel that my responsibility is to say, 'I live in a house in which a crime is being committed and further crimes are being planned.' I don't for one moment imagine that I can stop these further crimes from happening by saying it. But I do so partly to preserve my own sanity, to preserve the sanity of others who are noticing what is going on here and in the world."

Francine Prose in a recording of a panel titled "Literature and Power," from the PEN American Center's "PEN World Voices" Conference