the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

Notes on Becoming-Girl (Maybe), Aggregated

Posted by rigorousm on August 31, 2012

I think about Jean Seberg’s character Patricia Francini in Godard’s Breathless, the girl-reporter who wants to write novels and not be a sidekick in some film noir. I wonder if Godard was conscious when making the film how much he makes Patricia a cipher, and shows this blank character who is searching for an identity, for a self outside of men, but is never really able to escape it. She wants to write novels, someday, like Faulkner, but she needs to sleep with her editor to write articles, and she must be a muse-baby for the famous novelist in order to get his attention. And her self-worth is completely bound up in how others see her, through another’s gaze, and like a Jean Rhys heroine part of her only wants a Dior dress and the man who loves her, but there’s this other part, that’s just forming, that is having a complete identity crisis, that is Simone de Beauvoir’s woman questioning her immanence, questioning her lack of freedom, wanting something more, feeling dreadfully incomplete.– Kate Zambreno, Heroines, reposted on her blog Frances Farmer Is My Sister

And whether you like it or not subjectivity is not enough. It does not constitute an argument. It is part and parcel of a logic that supports maintaining the way things are. It is how we elevate failure in the name of something that is merely special—or at most specious. It has become the dominant mode of interpretation within our small universe. It is how we make a case for stories we like because we like the person or because we believe that belief in such stories is not possible without belief in the personalities who produced them. It is a way to protect our fragile self-interest.

— Janey Smith, “Marie Calloway, My Lover (Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Just Love Tao Lin” on Big Other

Like other forms of pastiche — the mix tape, the playlist, the mash-up — these sites force you to engage and derive meaning or at least significance or at the very least pleasure from a random grouping of pictures.

“Curation” does imply something far more deliberate than these inspiration blogs, whose very point is to put the viewer into an aesthetic reverie unencumbered by thought or analysis. These sites are not meant (as curation is) to make us more conscious, but less so. That might be O.K., but it also means they have a lot more in common with advertising than they do with curation. After all, advertising trains us to keep our desire always at the ready, nurturing that feeling that something is missing, then redirecting it toward a tangible product. In the end, all that pent-up yearning needs a place to go, and now it has that place online. But products are no longer the point. The feeling is the point. And now we can create that feeling for ourselves, then pass it around like a photo album of the life we think we were meant to have but don’t, the people we think we should be but aren’t.

“Pinterest, Tumblr and the Trouble With ‘Curation'” by Carina Chocano

In response to the aforementioned frankly underwhelming NYT article

I’m not sure I understand a model of curation that is separate from desiring-production, and I’m not sure how/if/why this author is talking about “longing machines” without talking about desiring machines. (But I don’t wanna talk about Deleuze because being a Girl On The Internet Who Uses Deleuze To Make Herself Feel Smart is the opposite of what I long to be.)


“…the feminist poetic essay was riddled with collaged texts and vulnerability. It switched person at will, ‘I’ flipping to ‘she,’ inside magically flipping to outside and back again.

… Passion in writing or art- – or in a lover – – can make you overlook a lot of flaws. Passion is underrated. I think we should all produce work with the urgency of outsider artists, panting and jerking off to our kinky private obsessions. Sophistication is conformist, deadening. Let’s get rid of it.”

— Dodie Bellamy, “CCA Barf” in BARF MANIFESTO

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