All posts by thisblogbilly

About thisblogbilly

22 years old. Girl. Indian. Out of law school. Want to write.

Blocks, Money, Shame, and Me.

I have been blocked. For quite a while. Its a combination of not liking a singe word I write, not being able to think of anything to write, and not being able to write even when I do think of something, because my mind says, “nobody cares, skunk”. My mind has the tone and voice of my middle school bullies.

So, in penance for not writing when I said I would write, as well as to try and fuel my writing with a dose of brash honesty, I’m doing two things. One, I’m writing a post about all the things I feel ashamed of as a twenty-five year old non-adult. And two, I will be bringing back my old alter ego from college, ME, just so you guys can get a real taste of how awful living with me actually and truly is.

ME: I think we both know I’m not the problem in this relationship.

Shut. the. fuck. up.

Anyway, lets begin with money.

Viola Davis celbration 1
Fun!

I make so very little of it, its barely taxable. That’s right. I went to fucking law school, and stare down my parents, my sister, men, and even my friends with well constructed, cool as a fucking ice tray arguments, but for some reason, I have no money. And just to be clear, I’m not complaining about how little it is, I’m ashamed at how little I feel I have come to deserve. This is what happens when you jump into the job pool at twenty-five.

MENot that you deserve what you get now. I’m surprised you got this job. They should really be throwing you out like the piece of turd you are. They seem sufficiently intelligent. They definitely know you’re useless.

Shut. Up.

So the money – its barely taxable. And maybe I wouldn’t be bothered, but I love my friends. And I love spending time with them, and sometimes I hate myself for not meeting them or being straight and saying that I can’t meet. My wee heart sinks a few centimeters when I think about all the times I have lied and said that I already ate, or that I’m not hungry – because I can’t afford anything more than a 10 buck packet of very unhealthy chips. And maybe I wouldn’t be bothered but I don’t like asking my parents for money unless its for necessities. And maybe I wouldn’t be bothered but I really fucking love restaurant food. Or any food, but since I don’t cook, it all involves restaurant food.

And maybe I wouldn’t be bothered, but everything costs money.

And yes, I know not having money is not something to be ashamed about. I read all the moral science stories and the books that taught me to value people etc. over things etc. But it doesn’t stop it from hurting when I think about saying – I just don’t have money. I can’t hang out with you. No, I don’t want to go dutch because there’s a reason I just ordered the desert. Yes, I do want some more clothes sometimes, but the few I have were brought with a lot of care, and a shopping trip will overturn my financial capabilities for the next 3 weeks.

Next there is the house. I love the house I live in now, but to be honest, its a money drainer. Isn’t it fantastic how having less money means you have awful shit in your house, which ultimately means you have to spend more money? A better house that would cost a little more (read, more than I can afford) probably would have better plumbing. Which would mean that twice a month, I wouldn’t have to call a nice, but severely overcharging plumber to come do things I could try to do, if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m a hopeless nitwit with things that involve plumbing.

Except for that thing where everyone’s ass crack shows when they bend over and do anything plumbing related. That I can accomplish even without doing any actual plumbing. I know. Pretty boss, right?

So in all this, I’m pretty ashamed at the state I leave my house in. The terrible things about jobs is that you have to go do it every day. And as much as its still a cool job, I doubt I can explain my life to the big bad world of private enterprise. “I live in a shit house that breaks down – yeah, the whole house breaks down in a puddle of cat piss – every few weeks. Which means every few weeks, I’ll have a “work from home” morning and I reluctantly eat breakfast at home, and I will get a pay cut, and I will pay a man to come fix things that I should really learn how to fix myself. You guys won’t think I’m a slacker, right?”

Which brings us to the next section of shame.

Boss Dance

Clumsy as I am (Y’all know I rammed my bicycle into a parked car once?) I’m usually able to handle myself pretty well. I get a lot of satisfaction from fixing things. When I bother to. Which, as I half heartedly step further into adulthood, seems to happen about once in a never. I suppose I could figure out basic plumbing if I dedicate a day’s time to figuring it out. But I don’t. I could but I won’t. Should but I shorn’t. Maybe pick up some skills so I can cook more than maggi and eggs? Shorn’t. Maybe figure out how to do that threading thing so I don’t have to rely on irregular beauty parlor payments to keep me looking like a 21st century female standard of grooming person? Shorn’t. Maybe try harder to get my PAN card application through so I don’t have to go through insane cuts due to taxes later? What part of shorn’t don’t you understand?

ME: Go die somewhere. Please?

Yes, let’s get to the PAN card thing, shall we? I really ought to get one. I have done one thing towards it. Two if you count asking for a letter I need from the office. But I have done nothing further for it. Shorn’t, baby. In this case, I suppose, what can I do? Sit at my desk during the moments of respite in a day and wonder if flinging myself dramatically over my office’s 10th floor balcony would help life a bit…

ME: *holds up “YES WE CAN!” poster*

Viola Davis celbration 2
So. Much. Fun.

My finances are in a terrible state, even outside of basic money. I have not kept accounts in a long ass time. I just trust that because I don’t buy clothes, watches, phones, shoes, alcohol, drugs, and other shit that other peoples of the world fret about spending money over, I will be fine till the next month’s pay day comes up.

And it usually works out, but my inner organized soul weeps at what I have become. I’m not the kind of asshole who puts the bedsheets on the bed with the flowers growing from the direction of the head. What am I, some sort of perverted heathen? No! But then I see the state of my bank account, and I have to admit. Maybe I am! Youguys, I’m the perverted heathen of the financial world. I’m the Fifty Shades of Accountant Grey of the daily finance world. This, you may guess, is not ideal.

I keep wondering if I should be trying to be fitter. But that’s a whole area of life I’m not fond of. Why be fitter? I’m not really planning on holding any trucks off the ground so pedestrians can escape a crushing death. I say let ’em die. I’m sure they did something very bad. On the other hand, being healthier would mean I will eat less fried food which will cost me less money. Which in turn can only be a good thing, considering how much of this post covers money. Makes you really think about how money minded I am, right? But truly, the only people I know who don’t have to think about money either have a lot of money, or live with their parents while earning. I have to think about money around twenty times a day, roughly. Will the ten bucks on daily pick me up tea be worth it? Can I afford to have a 30 buck lunch instead of a 20 buck lunch today? I know its late, but an auto will cost 30 bucks more. Do I have the resources for that?

Shame is a pretty ugly thing to live with. Thankfully, I’m very used to it. In fact, my alter ego is mostly shame combined with a very pronounced, confident sort of self loathing. That said, its still no picnic. And of all this awfulness, the worst shame of all, the one I don’t like to think about, is the fact that there is so much more that I don’t talk about. That as annoying as this may be, it’s nothing compared to the torrents of shame I feel about every little lie, every big lie, and every mediocre lie I end up telling to hide the millions of ways in which I know I don’t measure up.If you think there is brash, complete honesty in this, you don’t want to know what I don’t write about on the interwebs, right? I have yet to find that distance from my problems and my shame to be able to craft language well enough to relate this, the simple truth about said shame and self hate – that it is always, and it guides every thought and every gesture.

I'm Fine. Is this the gin I asked for

And the truth of the matter is, you can’t always tell people you’re not going out because money, or you can’t invite them in because house is a mess, or that you’ll be late to work because you’re going to spend another morning insipidly watching as a plumber does some knocking and sucking and charges you 4 days worth of food budget. What a dickensian life, she says, as she types away on her Apple computer.

Of course, I don’t really talk about not talking about it either. Except for right now I suppose, when you lucky bastards get to know all about my neuroses and how it has very harsh, real world consequences.

I wonder if this is the kind of thing that eventually leads to excess sex, drugs, and/ or rock and roll? Will you find me begging for knives to stab at street rats to make meals out of rat meat in a few years? Will I have those red rings you see around the eyes of people who use too much drugs? Will a decade see me poofed out from history with only those who remember me personally serving as living memory… We’ll see.

But maybe, just maybe, things will be better. I have recently asked someone halfway reliable to teach me the ways of the Jedi. Soon, I plan to have accounts. Maybe, Oh god, maybe, please, please, please fucking turdburger god, I know you’re not real but if you could see your way into making me a whole different person who has accounts by the end of this month, I will so very very grateful, I will think about maybe not thinking something non-believing about you for a day.

The only other thing I can hope to do is to have better weather so I can sign up for swimming pool shit, swimming being the only form of exercise I’m willing to do. That will probably have to be in March, when going into a swimming pool won’t result in full body frostbite. Also, I will have money in March. Especially if the whole crazy accounts thing works out.

Till then, I suppose I should keep my head down, and skip meals as much as possible… that helps with being fitter (because when has starvation ever killed anyone, right?) and also with the money thing.

Don’t judge me.

Much nervous.

Billy.

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Unemployment greens, whore thoughts, and pontificating on Hard Work

Here be some thoughts on the minutiae of life, fucks.

The truly unfortunate thing about being unemployed is that it is so terribly, achingly similar to being jobless. And yet, it lacks the arcadian feeling of joblessness. The grass is green, and you can read a book lying down on it, sure. But you feel like you’re in a time lapse video and winter is coming like a wave and its going to turn that green grass into yellow strings of ex-grass in no time.

For those of us unfortunate enough to not have enough money to last our lives comfortably, being jobless is something that happens mainly in college. After college or whatever form of higher education one chooses to pursue, joblessness comes in small spurts – you get a jobless weekend, you get a jobless evening, you may even get a jobless week for a vacation.

The only long term joblessness one can get post collegiate life is if one decides to be a kept person – you know, someone pays for your apartment, and buys your clothes and food out of the kindness of their private parts, wink wink, nudge nudge. And believe me, the thought has occurred to me. There are several ways of being a kept person. You could be married, you could be what is generally known as a “mistress”, or you could just be a very demanding person in a relationship. I personally think I would be suited for being a mistress, though I could settle for marriage if its logically necessary. Either way, there’s no shame in any of the three choices. As Sherman T. Potter once said, “There’s a right way and a wrong way to do everything. And the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way.”

I have also considered the fact that I will be a very good prostitute/ mistress so long as its one of those high class deals where I decide who and when and where and how much. You know, the pretty woman way. Think about it – I’m great at the rumpy pumpy, I demand nothing in terms of emotions as long as I’m not involved emotionally, I don’t go around expressing feelings like a loose cannon (most of the time), and I am just a delight to have around the house. At least I delight myself most of the time.

I have many skills
*Smirk

But all of this, of course, was in theory. To begin with, I’m in a new city. Well, an old city, but Bombay’s new for me. The point is, I’m not even sure where one would begin to prostitute oneself. Is one supposed to find a club frequented by men going through menopause? Or are there certain neighborhoods that cater to the unloved and lusty? Who knows?

Then of course, there’s the fact that I’m too lazy to actually go about acquainting myself with the in and outs (so to speak) of a whole new profession, especially if said profession involves a lot of standing around in uncomfortable clothes. Third, I kind of had things in the pipeline when I started out with the unemployment so there was really no need to seriously consider prostitution.

But I was unemployed for a whole month. It was simultaneously relaxing and petrifying.

It was relaxing not having to wake up at 8:30 in the morning. It was petrifying to wake up at 1 in the afternoon, realizing that that’s another day when you did nothing in life.

Group krumping
On the plus side, you get to do shit like this all day.

It was amazing not deciding what to wear in the morning, but when at 6 in the evening, you’ve to tuck your T-shirt between your underboob and your torso because you’re braless, its kind of a sobering thought that you spent the whole day hunched over your laptop and that at 25, your posture is not going to be good for the future of your breasts.

It’s fantastic to stay up late not caring about alarms and such, but night-time is the worst time when you have such gems of thoughts as “Holy crap, you’re never going to find a job. You’d better arrange to die soon for the burden you are on the earth.” Of course, when those thoughts occur to you, its good to write them down for posterity, and then move on to the next funny show or movie you have with you.

But there is some beauty in the joblessness of unemployment. You can meet your friends when you want. You can read whenever you want. You can be available for emergencies. You get to clean your house more often. And more to the point of where I’m going, being unemployed really makes you think about working hard. And hold on to your capitalist horses, because this is not going to be one of those pieces on the limitless ecstasy of a hard day’s work, if there be such a thing.

I moved to Bombay five months ago, and people here love working hard. They also love talking about working hard. Especially if you mention that you have no interest in appearing to be available for work at 6 in the morning just to impress someone, you will immediately get told by your mid-level superior that he/she once appeared available at 5.

Its basically the work equivalent of you telling someone your dog died, and having them tell you that that’s nothing compared to their horse dying the week before.

Balloon Finger

How the hell is your miserable life and pathetic choices supposed to encourage me to make the same pathetic choices you did? Believe me, it does not. Every time I see a 28 year old who looks closer to 40 than 30, I shudder and hope I have the temerity to quit before I join the ranks of the zombie work force.

I love this city. It’s charming, has some beautifully well-worn buildings, leaves you alone when you want to be alone, and in the right places, is full of people who are often fun to hang out with. When it comes to work culture, however, Bombay romanticizes exhaustion to the point of … exhaustion.

Being passionate about one’s work is a privilege. Most people in the world don’t get to pick work that they’re passionate about. Most people do the work that needs doing, from being bankers and accountants to garbagemen and housewives. For those of us who have the privilege of having an education that teaches us to think beyond the obvious, and the even greater privilege of earning a living outside of the obvious, perhaps there is something to working hard.

But even so, I place more premium on being marginally healthy, getting to read a certain amount of books and watch a certain number of shows and movies, and being able to meet people I give a turd about. I suppose I’m just not an ambitious person. As long as I like what I’m doing, I see no need to torture myself with how big I want to be while doing it. And I certainly don’t understand institutions that seem to think that only those who want to be on top should be anywhere. The world depends on people in the middle. Why is a normal life, lacking in fame and fortune and making a name for yourself, such a terrible thing?

Of course, these are the thoughts that run through my head when I’m unemployed. Starting December, I am employed, and as such I suspect I will have more interesting things to think about, like pleasing my superiors beyond question (is someone from the new work place going to read this?), or what to wear in the mornings or panicking about how I’m going to balance working with thinking about a blog topic every week.

Yes, the weekly schedule is back on, I promise with a rising sense of dread. I shall have to post something every week on penalty of telling a terrible/ embarrassing secret, and believe me, over the year and a half of my absence, I have amassed a few. As per usual, I suspect the telling of embarrassing secrets, or thinking about them, will fuel posts where I have nothing to say. Such has been life, and such it will be, no doubt.

I don't care typing
Le Writing process

As for why I have been absent, I choose to keep that information to myself for the time being. Its got a lot to do with feeling blue, and possibly black, and its terribly boring and self-indulgent for me to talk about it, so I shan’t. Also, believe you me, its been done to death.

Overall, I’m aiming for the coming posts to be better than this one. This one, I would give about a 4 out of 10. I’m rusty, but I have to start somewhere. Whatever’s next will hopefully be funnier and more relevant. Or you know, I have reached the height of my potential and should give up on life.

We’ll see.

Ta, loves.

Men are Victimized! and How to make your Blog title Provocative

I recently watched a couple of good awful movies, which is my way of saying they are good movies but make you want to nuke the world in order to contain and purge all sadness and the possibility of sadness from said world. Not that its relevant, but this genre of movies don’t strictly come into the other genre which is good awful fine-I believe-there-is-some-good-in-the-world-I-guess-I-don’t-need-to-google-search-“how-to-build-a-nuke-in-your-backyard”-just-yet.

Examples of the latter type of movies – Schindler’s List (or Life is Beautiful. You get the pattern – basically anything involving an exorbitant number of dead bodies piled together like so much candy), Mary and Max, Up (to a certain extent). If anybody is interested, there is a certain amount of sociology, philosophy and psychology based film theory critically looking at the need for a different type of aestheticization of the world post Holocaust. Look it up if you want – Kracauer, maybe Bazin, Susan Sontag to a certain extent I think. These recommendations are pure generalizations. Don’t go quoting me on this.

Getting back on point, I saw good awful movies – Soldier’s Girl and Stuart: A Life Backwards. Soldier’s Girl is a movie about a U.S. Army soldier who falls in love with a stripper while he is training, and the ramifications of their love affair. This is a picture of the (extremely hot) girl –

Her name is Calpernia.
Her name is Calpernia.

This is a picture of the actor who plays the girl

A.K.A Thranduil from The Hobbit and Ned the Pie maker from Pushing Daisies. BAM!

So yeah, she’s a transgender woman and the movie basically looks at how ineffective the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy was with regards protecting the privacy or safety of the soldiers in the U.S. Army. Maybe it is my born-out-of-cruel-experience slight misandry speaking, or my general dislike of army ethics and social conditioning, but by the end I really wanted to shoot almost every single man (by which I mean self identified man) in that movie (with some exceptions). Either for being phenomenally huge dicks sculpted out of rotten elephant shit, or for staying silent and watching (for the most part) other men be elephant shit based oversized dicks.

Next, there was Stuart: A Life Backwards which has two main attractions for the superficial viewer (a tag I hope to never outlive). This guy

You have my permission to fuck me till I die.

And this guy

Oh, Benedict.

However, the movie starts and even though you have read up so you know its going to be full of awfulness, it proceeds to get awfuller and awfuller, till you want nothing more than access to some Uranium and Plutonium and bunch of disenchanted nuclear scientists to do the calculations so we can summarily put an end to misery.

How very Ayn Rand of me.

I never thought I would ever in my life ever say or write a sentence even similar to that.

Stuart is about an alcoholic heroin-addicted homeless man named Stuart whose story is told backwards – from adulthood to childhood. And as much as we would all like to think that means you get to see something marginally nice towards the end, we all know children and humans too well. Not only does he get younger, the shitty things in his life and the psychological scars they leave get steadily worse as he gets younger. And because he is a child, we feel way worse for the way worse things happening around him.

Both of these movies are based on real life people and events, by the way.

The point is, after having watched these two movies not back-to-back but over the course of 48 hours, I felt really bad for men. Way less than how bad I felt for practically all women including me, but quite bad. Because while I wanted to kill all men, one of the most potent parts of watching men ill-treat other men is that – and I know this is going to sound awful before and possibly even after I explain fully – I can view it more objectively than when men ill-treat women in movies. By which I mean that as soon as something bad happens to a woman in a movie, especially at the hands of a man, I feel a blinding anger and sadness that feels like its coming out of my pores. Sometimes I have goosebumps with this blinding rage and anguish that makes the world a little… scratched. It feels as though someone is scratching at the walls of my world with no intention of quitting till everything I love crumbles under the incessant and determined picking of dirty, unwashed, unclipped fingernails. Which basically means I have no feeling whatsoever left over, no thought of the man in question except that he must die. And painfully.

So, not very objective. This feeling doesn’t come to me when I watch men ill-treat other men. Which may not be a good thing but I don’t think my mind handle that much sensitivity, so it is what it is.

So when I finished watching Stuart and then a day later finished watching Soldier’s Girl, I was left thinking about a conversation I had with a bunch of guyfriends about feminism. Somewhere in the middle of that hours long on and off conversation on sexual politics, comedy and normalizing, I mentioned that I often think feminism concentrates too much on women – teach girls how to be confident, teach them to defend themselves, to know when to go to the police, to want to have careers, to be what they want….

That’s great and I’m certainly not saying we should be teaching men how to defend themselves. I’m saying a big part of the world is, unfortunately or fortunately, male. And if we are willing to concede that some women may be socialized into acting in ways that are detrimental to womenkind and mankind alike in the long run, why can we not talk about the fact that there are men, many men who are socialized into a mind-set which we may find alienating, misogynistic, gender-insensitive, and unacceptable. I’m not saying we should all sit and have a chat with rapists and domestic abusers. However, shouldn’t it be part of the conversation – that change in the treatment and position of women is not a cause for women alone?

Take this scarring TED talk for instance –

Shouldn’t we as feminists be actively engaging with the fact that a lot of sexism, hetero-normative gendered behavior, as well as perceptions of stronger and weaker sex and gender are taught at a very early age to tiny boys who are given no mechanism to challenge this with? It’s not just about how they treat women, but about how they treat each other.

I’m all for teaching kids to be badasses, to fight and fight and struggle to get what they want, but teaching that is not exclusive to teaching young boys to not be kid-sized turds of human beings. I’m fairly sure its possible to be a go-getter and be a not-asshole at the same time. For fuck’s sake, Emily Bronte talked about this in fucking 1848 in The Tenant at Wildfell Hall, in which Helen Graham asks why she should not protect her boy from learning and internalizing the vagrancies and general male dickishness of the world, when she would definitely do so if she had had a daughter.

I think a serious change in perspective and goals need to happen, at least for every-day feminists or people-who-think-women-are-human-people-with-just-as-much-natural-right-to-agency-and-decision-making-capabilities-as-men if you don’t like using the word “feminist” to describe yourself. Let’s start by having proper sex education for boys. Perhaps campaigns to educate otherwise idiotic parents (I reserve the right to be judgmental about parents who decide to bring new people into the world without intending to take care of them in any and all ways) about what “naughty” “nathkhat” “spirited” “that word that Uncle Vernon used to describe Dudley” “chootiya” boys grow up to become – even bigger chootiyas who will no doubt fall behind in a fast changing world if not end up being eve-teasers and rapists.

Perhaps have school talks to boys about seriously being kinder to each other – nothing wrong with crying, nothing wrong with “being a girl”, nothing wrong with wanting an emotional connection, nothing wrong with not having sex, nothing wrong with having consensual sex, and nothing wrong with being friends with or liking girls. Tell them it’s a sin to like boys though, because they have cooties. Or when you have guyfriends or male acquaintances who don’t seem to get what you’re saying about some gender problem, to engage and not immediately label them a misogynist and give up. Of course after you engage with them, if they seem like a misogynist, feel free to cut off their balls. They should certainly not be having or raising children.

You get the gist – we really need to civilize the not-noble savages that men are currently. Maybe a few feministy decades down the line, they can be the Pocahontas to our John Smith, except their Pocahontas wouldn’t have anything to teach our John Smith. Scratch that analogy actually. Can’t make misogynist joke now. Can’t be racist now. Too soon. Another time, perhaps.

Ok bye.

– Billy

P.S. – This was drafted and saved before 12. The only reason its delayed is because of internet connection and image loading problems. So no embarrassing fact revelation business. Feck off now. Intentional spelling.

How to fangirl defend Sherlock season 3

As anyone who cares to have a conversation with me for longer than about 15 minutes knows, I am a tumblr person. Which means that when it comes to things I like, namely films, television and books, I get chatter and news very quickly. It also means that comprehensibly distilled versions of critiques and reviews of said television, films and books find me sooner or later. Recently, I read a few posts on tumblr that has brought this on, other than raging fandom feelings.

One was about how the constant fear about someone who cares about something, anything at all, is that they will start becoming a looped record about it. Every time you talk about it, you are aware of a certain section of people internally groaning – “We KNOW. You’ve talked about this before. In a different context perhaps, and with different conclusions, but why does every discussion have to be about this?”

And speaking as someone who has thought these very things on multiple occasions, and lately been subject to these very thoughts, I have to pint out it’s between a hard place and another phallic, sexual hard thing. Nobody wants people to tire of the things they talk about and consider important. However, perhaps more so with some subjects than another, you can’t rest till you talk about it because the only way to embed a manner of reasoning or thinking into the world around you is if you bring it up as much as you can. And so goes feminism and anything feminism related to film and television.

The problem with talking about feminism is how ingrained the opposite is. Because nobody has ever really ignored the presence of women in human society. In history and sociology and the rest of the liberal arts, perhaps only recently has the contribution and importance of women been studied, but in everyday life, women are always around. They are not ignored in the culture of any society, largely because is “culture” is mostly made by a phallus shaped society interested in where the penis shaped compass of their penis-minds are pointed. Which means that as soon as someone says “but the women…” the immediate response from most people is, “Yes, the women are here. We see them.” The question of how you internalize the personhood of women is often ignored because as soon as you acknowledge their presence, mostly at a phallic level, you stop wondering what other contribution they can have to your life or to your story.

Which brings me, quite fortuitously (not really. I planned this) to the subject of Sherlock. Season three has come and gone, and the results are in – “Amazing as usual, but it is not Sherlock anymore. Sherlock isn’t about how pretty Benedict Cumberbatch’s eyes are, or how much Watson loves his wife. It should be about Sherlock solving crime.” (Apologies to the person to whom this quote can be directly ascribed to. This is not a tirade against you. I have heard too many arguments of the same nature and you were the most articulate)

There is no doubt that this season has been subtly or not so subtly… enhanced for the womenfolk. The opening sequence itself, where all of our vaginas trembled with the knowledge that here, here was the perfect kiss with just the right hand placement and just the right kind of adrenaline rush and the right kind of background lighting, is proof of this. However my question is, is the value of the series itself diminished somehow because it also caters to the red blooded female? I have rarely heard of the value of something like Game of Thrones or Rome or even Spartacus being diminished because it caters to the visual fantasies and priorities of its male viewers. If I have, it comes from a largely female source where the argument is not against such catering, but in its blatant disregard for the female viewer. Take this hilariously significant plea to HBO for instance.

 

In comedy this is an often talked about issue – is women’s comedy different from men’s comedy? This is especially something that is chanted by male comedians for whom a large part of their routine consists of “Men are like…. But women are like….” But for people like Louis C.K. or Patton Oswalt, two older male comedians who have actually engaged with feminist (or rather, just anti-obscene-justifying-rape-joke-ist) critique, there is no such thing as “funny for men” and “funny for women”. Funny is funny. And for Oswalt and Louis, funny is funny because it is not coming at the expense of trivializing actual, real, and horrendous problems, but engages with them in order to cull out hypocrisy and irony and outlandishness of thought that allows for such problems.

This engagement at a less than visceral level is what has always made Sherlock as a show important. A direct adaptation, even one based in the 21st century, of what I remember of the original material would not result in the show as it exists. And it’s a good thing they didn’t go about making that direct adaptation, largely because the world has seen enough interpretations of the “genius solves crime by using his genius and then follows killer into dark alley where they fight and then genius emerges victorious” trope. Any show that wants to break ground while having Sherlock Holmes as its protagonist needs more. You need more than chase sequences and smug omniscience. You need human connection, and very importantly in the digital age, a connection with the consumers.

I don’t know about anyone else, but to me and a lot of people around me, the pivotal point of any Sherlock episode has not been the chase, or the catching of the criminal. It has been about how Sherlock uses his mind to arrive at the solution, to escape, to catch. And more than that, it is about the examination we do of Sherlock’s mind to understand where he stands, and where we stand by comparison. Even Moriarty, who by the way did not have as much a presence in the original works as does the Andrew Scott Moriarty in Sherlock, as much as he is the epitome of the “consigliore of crime” presents such a palpably delicious threat because of how much he wants to sparr with Sherlock. Sherlock the show has always been more interesting because we get to see the socially dysfunctional Sherlock manipulate and work with the real world and with real people and all their “tedious” fights, emotions and conventions.

With Doctor Who, especially in its 10th Doctor heyday, the most adventurous part of the show is never special effects, explosions and chasing aliens, but the manner in which the Doctor with all his resources and intelligence facilitates compromise and diplomacy, more often than not, by creating a team and working positively with other people.

Sherlock, Doctor Who and even Buffy the Vampire Slayer of yore are few of the shows that escape from sticking to the previously adhered to, rather male centric trope of “single savior saves the world” even while there is a titular character. All of them survive because of the team they form around each other, and the team they form around the people who watch the show itself.

This is where fandom has become an unprecedentedly important factor. Sherlock is made by fandom. Even Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are fans of the original work, and are technically writing modern AU fanfiction to use the parlance of the fanfic universe. My question is, does the fact that so many female viewers are enamored by Sherlock’s physicality negate their equally strong enthusiasm for his process? Does the fact that the writers are keeping this female viewership in mind mean that there is nothing for everyone else to enjoy? In fact, isn’t it a good thing that the perspective and imaginations of female viewers are now part of the canon of a show rather than something left to be filled up by female viewers in fanfiction sites?

More importantly one has to consider why female viewers love Sherlock. Despite what a large number of men, including Steven Moffat at times, think it is has as much to do with his personality as his looks, and it is not at a purely romantic level. For many women, Sherlock is not a challenge – someone who appears asexual but who we hope we would be able to change. He is asexual, and for a lot of people including women there is comfort in his asexuality. Sherlock being asexual and as logical as he is means that his lack of manners and general rudeness have nothing to do with the way he thinks about you because you’re a woman. He treats women abhorrently, but he treats men equally abhorrently. He is the man who will not try to leap ahead of you to open the door for you. He will probably let the door smack you on your face. There is safety in him – the guarantee of being treated rottenly on the basis of something that has nothing to do with where he believes your place in life is simply because you are a woman. God knows he seems to have met enough world class criminal women to have no stereotypical understanding of women. In the stand up comedy delivered by Sherlock, if there is any mention at all of the separation of genders or relationships, it will probably go something like “Can you believe you tiny brains have no idea that your significant other is using drugs by the fact that he or she has started polishing their boots?! What a bunch of fucking idiots.”

It may not be the crime procedural that we have been made used to by the rather male dominated western entertainment industry, with the importance it gives to weddings, relationships and so on, but it would be rather punishing to claim that such things should not be part of a show like Sherlock. Further, saying that would imply that men and viewers at large are not interested in such things as marriage or kissing or emotional and psychological basis for human behavior and personalities. You only need to look at who writers of happy fairy tales and romantic comedies have largely been – men.

This is not to say that Steven Moffat couldn’t do with a world of improvement in his portrayals of women – which is more often than not one-dimensional or otherwise problematic, or even of portrayals of relationships. However, Mary Morstan is certainly a step up, not just in the depth of her character and history, but in the relationships she sustains with people – from using them for her own ends (Geniene?) to loving fiercely to inspiring respect and love not just for her ability to love fiercely, but for being a clever and ruthless assassin. In fact, I believe for those interested in such things, it would be thrilling – comparing Sherlock and Mary Morstan; two sociopaths with the ability to love fiercely and unequivocally when it comes to the people they care about.

To imply that Sherlock has always been about solving crimes would be very blind – it has always been about people, especially about Sherlock himself. We are all at some level masturbating intellectually to the thought of this one man’s unprecedented personality and how it interacts with other personalities. And to behave as though the manner in which he and Watson form relationships and friendships is not interesting to you would mean you’re just not interested in stories. The kind of male centered action based television where entertainment is based on one liners and very flimsy grasp of personalities, especially women’s personalities should be on its way out, even if it isn’t actually.

This is not to say that women don’t like action movies with bombs and guns. They would be more interesting if they centered around people more – people being more than just those with dangling genitals. This is of course a problem with Sherlock, and the female viewers deal with it through the mode available to it – fan-fiction and fan art. The amount of material you see on the female characters in Sherlock interacting, their origin stories, their interactions, their survival, their dreams, the realizations or shattering of their hopes, is exponential. Is it really a bad thing if Moffat and Gatiss start paying attention to the many types of viewers who are consuming their show, and allowing for merit in their interests.

This season for instance, we see Molly Hooper having a more assertive personality and overall more presence in the show itself. The fact that this has been inspired by the kind of interest she has generated, even from the corner she was relegated to in the previous seasons is an improvement for more representational and demographically and psychologically realistic television. So is a multi dimensional approach to character.

In conclusion, Benedict Cumberbatch is undeniably a very new and utterly fabulous type of hot, and yes, the show has started banking on that a little more than when it initially came out. It is also a fact that the show has started looking more at other characters as well as the emotional bonds that Sherlock is made of. We can all certainly argue about what kind of Sherlock Holmes we are used to and what we would prefer his personality to be. But assuming that the kind of personality he does have in the show and what dimensions of said personality the show chooses to display somehow makes the show less than its previous seasons is an entirely subjective argument. Even if the intention is to give a certain section of viewers what they want (namely, more Benedict Cumberbatch), that alone should ideally not be the basis of saying that the show has become something else, and certainly not something less than what it was before.

 

–        Billy

 

P.S. – I was going to write more, but something’s gotta give. It is first week back in college and I’m already more busy than I have ever been. So screw writing about fandom and India and all that shit. I’ll do that some other time.

Also, I believe I’m supposed to reveal an embarrassing secret – I once masturbated while there was another person present in the room. That person was not aware of my activities for a number of reasons which I will not be divulging. Ok. Bye.

 

Children’s movies and Boys and Girls and Curly haired men who know how to kiss

Well, hello. This is going to be another one of those posts. You know the ones – where I talk about movies and then I talk a little about penises. And today, I’ll be talking about Disney movies. And if you’re like me and you take Dan Brown’s literature as gospel, the two subjects go exceedingly well together. Kind of like Hot Dog and mayonnaise.

Anyway, getting to the point, I finished reading The Beautiful and Damned recently. For those of you who are uncouth, uneducated, unworthy plebeians, that’s a book written by Scott F. Fitzgerald, who also wrote The Great Gatsby and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Although surely, none of you uneducated and so on people would deign to read my illustrious, erudite, culturally high-minded blog where I talk about penises, right? Go away now. Shoo. Chop Chop.

Like he says. Shoo, morons.
Like the tall guy says. Shoo, morons.

 

Anyway, it got me thinking about Disney. Mostly because I recently watched Tangled for the nth time and then watched Frozen. Which got me thinking about Brave. We all know where this is going now, don’t we? Hairstyles. Nope.

Anyway, The Beautiful and Damned is a story about two young people who fall in love and get married, and how their privilege damns them to a life of knowing their lack and their unhappiness. Because if they weren’t privileged, spoilt, without any responsibilities or vocation and so full of expectations about what life would be for them, they may not perhaps have been subject to the peculiar kind of unhappiness they got – the kind where the seemingly reasonable expectations of young people remain unsatisfied, and because those expectations meant so much, their hearts were made irreparably broken – by each other and by themselves.

One of the early reviews of the book I read talked about how the character of Gloria Gilbert is an “original”. The beautiful and callous Gloria is driven only by one thing – to enjoy herself. And she is the kind of character that knows that her life will be presented to her on a platter as long as she is beautiful. Her moments of solitude, her likes and dislikes, her ability to enchant with the most inane of subjects simply because of her manner, her open disdain for the people she wishes to despise, is all made hers because of the charm her beauty provides. As you may imagine, she is not a particularly likeable character, but not more so than Anthony Patch, her husband. He is a whole other collection of insecurities and neuroses that try to constantly hide behind the skirts of Gloria’s beauty and popularity.

About five years ago, I would have hated reading this book. Not only are the characters so useless, they have very few redeeming qualities and Fitzgerald doesn’t really try to be particularly kind to them (probably because he was quite sure everything would end badly – quite like it did for him and his Gloria-esque wife Zelda). Who ever thought jobless, self aware socialites during prohibition married to supposedly egoistic writers would end up in a mental institution. Such is life.

Now, as much as its difficult to read at times, its worth knowing all the pitfalls your previously magical marriage will succumb to if you don’t have some temerity, some *incomprehensible French phrase meaning confidence*, some Courage of your convictions. And some general lack of selfishness. Another reason to read/ enjoy – well, it’s Fitzgerald. I have a snoot not very well hidden in my not very deep depths.

ME: Sex joke.

me:

 

Though I admit there is a certain awfulness about characters like Gloria. Or for that matter (to bring this closer home for those who don’t give two micropenises about some obscure character from some book) characters like Betty Draper from Mad Men. They seem colorless and one dimensional and utterly childish when we see them. They seem to have finished with the business of life and striving once they get married. And seeing that image is not something a normal woman enjoys – because for most of us, it is our worst nightmare to become relegated to a corner of life after we find people we want to spend all of it with.

But at the same time, I hate it when en masse people hate on poor Betty Draper. Because she, like Gloria, is not simply a figment of someone’s imagination but a representation of what life meant to a lot of women at some point of time. And as much as we can find faults in them, it is equally important to remember how much they are a product of their times. Gender is a construct certainly, but so is every aspect of life inspired by and derived from gender. Betty Draper existed with her childishness and her marital woes, and she existed because someone taught her from a fairly early age about the way things are supposed to be. And then she learned from friends about the kind of husband one should have, and the kind of life that would be ideal, and the kind of children one should raise. And her friends probably knew because of her and their parents, and then, from Disney movies. Where the all suffering, cursed, single girl is taken away from her woeful life by the ever so democratic (democratic in that they’re poor, not in that they are less than the normal standard of beauty) love of their rich, princely, handsome future husbands.

I personally did not grow up on Disney movies. Not because my parents were incredibly aware feminists, but because we never had a lot of TV experience, but I had read all the original fairy tales as a child. My father was against Barbies though this had a lot more to do with his communist anti-American ideas rather than feminist ones. By the time my sister and I had demanded Barbies (like all our friends had) for long enough to actually get one each, we were a little below ten and eight I think. I spent a couple of solid childhood years making my Barbie (Barbies in the plural once my sister dropped hers) fall in love with and then become girlfriends with imaginary Ken. They would go to college or have jobs and houses (that were largely imagined), but the plot of their lives generally involved men (Ken). And that’s not all. Imaginary Ken was a dick (albeit without an actual dick) who practically harassed Barbie in the name of romance before she fell for his rakish charms. I’m not entirely sure where I picked up that rhetoric from except for subversively problematic and sexual Bollywood romances. For a long time, I like many pre-pubescent and pubescent girls assumed that guys being dicks was a manifestation of affection, attraction and unconditional respect for us as human beings. Now of course I know that most guys are dicks to some girls because they have small penises which they feel will be compensated if they are huge cocks to us. Tis a scientifically verifiable truth.

Like this random asshole spreading his legs around like he’s evolution’s endgame. Pffft.

 

So if I hadn’t been taught from the very beginning that I should and could earn and live for myself, perhaps I would have been happy being blissfully ignorant as my handsome husband with the stolen identity cheated on me with an inordinate number of women. Or I may have spent my life being woefully sad as I waited for my husband to get his inheritance (Gloria).

When I went to law school/ college, I was introduced to some other Disney movies – Mulan and The Frog Princess. And I did not need the inspiration at the time but it was good to know Disney made movies where the girls had more to do than get cursed and passively wait around till some handsome chappie comes along and molests them as they sleep. This got even better when I saw Penelope which is a little known film with Cristina Ricci playing the titular character who is cursed by a witch to be born with a pig snout (and little piggy ears) till one of her own accepts her. So her parents keep her away from the rest of the world and try and make her the most “accomplished” young lady, so that eventually some blue blooded rich man would eventually agree to marry her for a phenomenal dowry. Towards the end of the movie, she is about to be married to said rich dude (who is disgusted by her but has to marry her because of some publicity reasons that are too complicated to explain here) when she runs away from the altar. Her mother follows her, begging her to go back so that she can become a “whole new you”. To which Penelope replies that she doesn’t want to be a whole new version and that likes herself the way she is, breaking the curse.

This was before Tangled or Frozen, and was such a beautiful surprise. And somewhere in the movie, Penelope runs away from home and spends a few weeks discovering herself and making friends on the sly. The first thing we see her do when she leaves her parents’ house after breaking the curse is get the job she wanted – as a school teacher teaching biology, largely horticulture and plant biology. Later she makes up with the guy she likes, but while that is certainly the most romantic bit of the movie, it is not the most important part, as elucidated by its conclusion. It’s about finding your strength and own way, overcoming insecurities and fears, finding ways to be happy in spite of or because of them.

Then there was Tangled where both Rapunzel and the hot-as-motherfucking-bananas Flynn Rider save each other time and time again. Not one of them is more responsible for the other. Pixar’s Brave is a story primarily about a mother and daughter who have different opinions of what life and duty should mean. Her mother tells her it is her duty to get married to one of the haggardly princes from neighboring clans, and Merida doesn’t want to get married. The story is about how she ends up getting her lesbian way without having all the super awesome men fight between themselves over her.

And recently I watched Frozen, admittedly because I initially thought that was the movie with the cute animated guy who looks like a white haired pixie (Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians, which is what I’ll be watching next). But I was not disappointed despite the palpable lack of said cute animated boy. Frozen is about two sisters who have to deal with the fact that one of them, Elsa, is a raging Ice Queen who accidentally turns her kingdom (yes, they’re royalty) into an freezing hell-ice-scape. Her sister Anna, having missed her older sibling because of the latter’s isolation while trying to control this admittedly problematic power follows her to try and convince her to come back and make things hot again.

Done and ...
Done and …
Done. Dayyym gurrll.
…Done. Dayyym gurrll.

 

Anna was the one who made her sister lose control of her powers by arguing with her when Elsa refused to give Anna permission to marry a guy she knew for less than a day.

What is amazing about this movie is not just that it is primarily about the two sisters and how they end up helping each other, but the men in it. The man Anna wants to marry turns out, after spending more than half the movie seeming rather perfect, to be only marrying Anna to gain power of the throne. Anna stops him from murdering her sister towards the end. Another significant character is that of the Duke of Weselton who tries to use the unfortunate forever-damned-to-winter state of the kingdom to change trade agreements to his country’s benefits. Both of these men are stopped by the sisters working together. On the other hand, Kristoff and Olaf, both of whom help and support and fight alongside the women to get things done receive just rewards not just in terms of “getting the girl” but in having their own independent aspirations fulfilled.

As Colin Stokes points out in this awesome video, children’s movies need to address concerns and quests for both boys and girls, with proper, characteristic role models for both boys and girls. He speaks to the fact that movies with primary male characters tend to go about their quests by themselves, or in each other’s company, but with very little involvement with girls. And in the same way, very rarely do Disney movies provide respectful, supportive male characters who succeed because of their ability to work with each other and with strong, independent women characters. In Tangled, Penelope, Brave and Frozen, not only do the women work (often with each other) to make their own lives and/ or their kingdoms a better place, but the men who join their “team” as Stokes puts it, end up having a better deal as well.

I don’t really need inspiration from Disney movies anymore, but representation is incredibly important. And I’m glad that at least for a certain socio economic section of the population, not only are Disney movies more accessible, but that they are likely to inspire Barbie to take college seriously, get a Ph.D., have a boyfriend or a girlfriend, and then work to improve herself or the world and do any number of things to make herself and other people happy.

Barbie shouldn’t have to live a complacent, sedentary life. That seven foot tall, blonde, double-breasted Amazon she male deserves more in life than just dong-less Ken.

Regards,

– Billy

P.S. – On a side note I have avoided mentioning the show I have been obsessing over recently out of respect for the topic at hand. Can you guess what it is? Can you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is kissing. I can do the hair thing. I have to get to work on perfecting the rest.
This is kissing. I can do the hair thing. I have to get to work on perfecting the rest.
He did it again!! With the neck and the scarf!!

 

Ok. Yeah. Sherlock. Yup.

– Billy

Thing(s) to do in life.

 

If there’s anything I figured out in the last few months its that I really like writing, and not just blogs – stories and screenplays and several other things as well. I have been involved in the production of a film (screenplay writing, storyboarding, other stuff) which may or may not suck. However I did love working on it, which is a new feeling. Usually I don’t like working on most things (except writing and sometimes drawing) and as soon as the tiniest sign to stop comes along I’m one of the first to throw in the towel. Anyway, so I guess I will just send the rest of my days in a tired, sleepy, busy state just for the sake of job satisfaction and personal happiness. And then a guy will come along while I’m in my thirties (but I look much younger) and ruin everything by being all “you have to loosen up, hot thang”. The rest of the story will be in my memoirs.

Having said that, I planned to post one of my stories but unfortunately I had no time to sleep properly, let alone acquire the copyright on it this past week so that’s shitty for you.

I find that though I’m not terrible at acting and sometimes I don’t even mind my face in video, I much prefer the writing and other things I can easily do while sitting alone in my room, alone, without the company of too many people. I used to really like acting but its been a while since I let anything apart from close friends matter much to me at an emotional level, especially in front of other people. And acting involves becoming a person who does let things matter and making sure other people can see that it matters. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling. And rather sad when you consider the fact that I used to really like acting. Now I’m the very loaf of cynicism and a complete feelings hoarder. Ah, the tricks life plays on us.

Contemplative Jazz Music

 

While in many ways, these past few months, and especially the past few weeks have been like living my eighteen year old life, at least my attitude towards human company when it comes to work has remained the same. Or maybe I’m just temperamental and I require people who have the exact same or very nearly the same kind of work ethic in order to not lose my mind or my temper.

I have become a workaholic in the way I never dreamed I could be while I was slacking off, masturbating and generally avoiding all responsibility and extra work in law school. It may have a lot to do with the fact that it turns out I rather enjoy the process of making a movie, coming up with ways of visually shooting a story, of considering what the implications of shooting something a particular way is, or the kind of editing one would use. Film making is a lot of hard work, apparently. I don’t know how directors have lives, or sex, or anything. And I especially don’t know how they would do it if they also wrote and storyboarded. Simply watching one of the guys who owns the camera shooting the same scene again and again and again, from different angles, getting multiple shots for safety is tiring. So is doing the same lines, the same smile, the same expression over and over again, but its certainly easier than being the guy with the movie camera (hehe. Geddit?). I’m assuming this, considering the fact that I’ve never actually handled a camera professionally.

And yet I don’t actually mind doing it. It may turn out really crappy, and I will feel bad if it does, but it was my first experience with the camera, and I rather liked it. I may like the whole business of dark rooms, pencils and notepapers and journals more calming and up to my speed, but this has its own romance. Of making something that is so… visual. Like drawing, except with moving pictures (I wonder if anyone thought of it that way before? I am so. Funny.) and with real people and real lighting, and awfully real expressions.

I guess this is why people mooted in law school even though they may not win. It’s fun to do. Its interesting, and its new and I like it. It also makes my vocabulary next to a seven year old’s as is evident.

And yet, as always, there is a dark side to this tale of sunshine, butterflies and free love. I have rediscovered my control freak self when it comes to work. It was always around in college, but it only came out around fest time when I had to make people (men) practice our group dance (yes, that’s what I got scarily intense about in law school. Suddenly, everything comes into perspective, does it not?). When it comes to the film process, I’m worse. It turns out, I hate delegating. I highly suspect that if it were solely up to me I would personally supervise and overlook every single thing. Apparently, I’m of the school of thought that believes “If you want something done right, you do it yourself.” Even when someone else did something I made sure I read and reread and discussed like some kind of useless philosopher. And I really like doing it. I suspect I’ll like doing it even if I fail occasionally.

Still. It’s better than not working at all, right? Maybe I will become a movie trope. If rom-coms are anything to go by, sooner or later I’ll end up looking like Meg Ryan or Katherine Heigl. I could do worse.

–        Billy

 

P.S. – I wont be in Delhi next week and will finally be having vacation during these vacations, so no blog. Fuck you and your hopes for relieving some boredom by reading this blog next week.

Also, I’ll try and get the copyright thing done by next time so I can have stories as back ups.

Toodles.

Love Stories, Homosexuality and Crime

Warning – wee bit muddled, with all the good intentions and very little articulation.

The first time I was introduced to the idea of being gay – I don’t remember that. I do know that I thought it was a bit “wrong” somehow because that was the way I was told about it. I never really thought about it much. Whoever told me definitely did not make much of an impression, even about the concept. The next time I came into contact with the idea was Bend it Like Beckham, a 2002 movie with Keira Knightley, and an Indian girl who likes to play football the way Billy Elliot liked to dance. Anyway, for those who remember the film, Keira Knightley’s mother starts believing that her daughter is a lesbian (the blame is placed primarily on the indiscriminate playing of football, which is understandable. Let’s not pretend that football doesn’t make you a little homosexual, right?) and finally confronts her about it. Keira’s like “no woman, you fucking cuckoo?” (that was the basic gist)

And then she said the words that changed everything for me. She said “And so what if I were a lesbian? What’s wrong with that?” (or something like that. You must know by now, no actual research goes into these posts)

I couldn’t think of a reply to Keira Knightley’s angry, frustrated question. I already knew about sex and at the time it was simultaneously appealing, tempting, scary and disgusting. Lesbian or gay sex was about the same combination in the same proportions. Suddenly, gays and lesbians were… well, a novelty. Something that wasn’t bad, but I had personally never encountered. By the time I familiarized myself with Will and Grace, gay people had become a rare gift that I had yet to encounter. Not a very progressive viewpoint, certainly, but I was learning.

That phase was lost by the time I was seventeen, which was the first time someone came out to me. Well, sort of. A new friend told me he had slept with guys as well as girls.

“Is that a joke?”

“No.”

And maybe I’ve imagined it like this ever since, but I think he was waiting, proper waiting, actually waiting, for my response. Because admit it or not, I think knowing that a potential friend can deal with unexpected news, would actually accept you, is important.

“So, what exactly are you?”

He said that he was mostly just straight. Which is how I would love to describe myself if I ever dabbled in the lesbotic arts, which I currently haven’t done.

The next intervention that television and film made on my sexuality came a bit later. When I was nineteen (or twenty) I had an unhealthy obsession with James Spader. It started, naturally, with Boston Legal and manifested itself in familiarizing myself with all of his filmography, everything he had been in, procuring the ones that seemed enjoyable, taking snapshots of his beautiful young face from the movies, fantasizing about meeting Alan Shore in an abandoned corporate building’s conference room… it was a lark.

In the process I saw stuff like Sex, Lies and Videotape, Mannequin, Pretty in Pink, Bad Influence…. I was in the throes of a wasted quarter life in Law School and nothing was going to stop my unhealthy obsession with the man who at the time was in his early fifties (I think).

Recently however, I became familiar with another show that Spader is doing which sent me on a minor Spader relapse (exacerbated by the fact that I’m too sick to do anything but TV and internet). It’s called The Blacklist, and its quite an ok show. Its only ten episodes in so I cant really say much, except that I will watch it as long as its on simply to watch James Spader make being a witty criminal look SO good. And sound SO good. Take a listen. If you don’t like the way he looks, just shut your eyes and listen.

Anyway, this compelled me to look into James Spader again. Apparently he’s going to be in the next Avengers movie so that’s something to look forward to. Then I watched White Palace again. It’s a 1990 movie with Susan Sarandon. There’s sex, there’s swearing, there’s jews…. every pleasure you want out of life.

As I watched the film just a few days ago, I started getting a little déjà vu. Not because I had seen it three years ago, but because …. well. I realized Susan Sarandon’s sexual nature was a bit familiar to me. It wasn’t too long before I realized that my sexual personality was probably subconsciously based on hers in the movie. I already had a natural affinity, no doubt, but at the time I first watched it, I wasn’t sexually active. Now that that has changed – I laugh at the same stuff, I … well, lets not get into details. But yes, things are a bit familiar.

I had always assumed that movies have a lot of influence on the people watching it. In my case, I had rather presumptuously assumed the influence was largely intellectual. You know, I’d get interested in scientific, social, philosophical, technical… other random aspects of the movie concerned. It was all very British and pince-nez and nearly hipster. But that’s not it at all. My very behavior, my likes and dislikes, what I have experienced, what I have been brave enough to try. All of it has depended so much on the movies and shows I watch – I’m open to sexual experiences, I have no problems or questions with homosexuality, I occasionally like to get a little rough and more than occasionally like to be gotten rough on, I have a very progressive and often problematic attitude towards free speech, I find powerful douchebags hot, and so on an so forth.

You have to ask yourself – who would you be if popular culture hadn’t snuck in its lessons through your skull? Who would you be without Game of Thrones introducing you to the idea of complicated, amazing, power hungry women who have and use their sexuality whenever they want or need to? Who would you be if Bend it Like Beckham had never had that one line? Who would you be if Indian networks decided to not show Will and Grace on television? Who would you be if you had never seen Boston Legal?

I remember watching Secretary for the first time (another James Spader movie. I think that man has been a huge part of my sexual awakening without either of us ever knowing. I’m sure he’ll be pleased to know it when he finds out). Suddenly, BDSM made so much sense… Before that I had assumed BDSM involved people who just had no self respect. The beautiful thing about that movie was that it never directly addresses feminism or the arguments for and against BDSM… but you know it has, sneakily, carefully, and very beautifully. There is one moment, when Lee is sitting on the chair and refuses to move because her boss/ impending lover told her not to. People try to dissuade her, bring her food, support her… Her father, a recovering alcoholic reads a passage from the Bible – “You are the child of god’s holy gift of life. You come from me, but you are not me. Your soul and your body are your own, and yours to do with as you wish.” And your mind slowly gets blown.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court of India did something pretty awful – it overturned the Delhi High Court’s judgment (from 2009) that decriminalized homosexuality, “unnatural sex”. I can’t imagine what this means for the thousands upon thousands of people who struggle with themselves on a daily basis. What it means for me is that a lot of my friends, people whom I love and care about, even have to think for a minute about whether their country’s law allows them to love whomever and however they want to. In fact, considering the fact that the Supreme Court seems to have an utterly Victorian, unbelievably prudish definition of “unnatural sex” (anything that is not “penis into vagina”) I myself am a criminal on several counts.

I have never been more saddened by anything the Supreme Court did in my lifetime. Because its one thing when they kowtow to power every day, when they show blatant disregard for the kind of desperation that has brought everyday individuals to the highest court in the land, when they are unceasingly misogynistic. Its disheartening when they actively decide they want to continue the unfair and frankly, unsavory system that exists currently.

People, especially adults who never went to law school often ask me if I don’t want to make a difference. If I did, why did I leave the legal profession? The truth is I realized I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would, and I don’t have the stomach for it. I am slightly sociopathic, very rude, and quite disarmingly morbid at times, but that doesn’t make it easy for me to deal with the courts, and its multitudes of terribleness.

On the other hand, there was films, and TV, and the natural high of making people laugh, and winning points by making jokes – this, I understand. This I can deal with. And this, I know, from my own personal experience, changes things in the most effective way possible – underhandedly and subtly. Watching Secretary was a revelation because I realized the truth of pop culture being a normalizing agent – suddenly, I didn’t care why people chose (if they did choose at all) to be dominants or submissives in bed as long as they were safe and emotionally and mentally satisfied.

This whole normalizing this is certainly used by largely male dominated film industries to normalize all kinds of crap, from rape culture to stalking, to unabashed machismo based, purposeless violence. On the other hand, there’s nothing better than a good old fashioned love story – a simple one, with no AIDS or excessive amounts of political and/or social discussions about homosexuality – to suddenly make you not care, as long as people have the temerity to fall in love, to want people and the courage to do something about it (the way I, cold and heartless as I am, would never have).

I hate adults sometimes, and many times, I want them to not be in control. I want a world where their opinions about what is “proper” doesn’t stop me from doing what I want – whether it is kissing girls, or choking on a penis. I have hopes for the entertainment world, and I know how to navigate it. I have hopes because if aspiring writers and directors and actors I meet are anything to go by, sooner or later people my age, with positive and compassionate attitudes about feminism, about rape culture, about homosexuality are going to be flooding the entertainment industry. And soon enough, people are going to watch. And maybe in a decade’s time, we wont be “criminals” for things we do in bed with a consenting partner.

God, I can’t think of a good ending for this post. Just… fuck it.

– Billy

Nearly Dying and Other Excuses

Ok so I’m back. And I know I’ve not been around for a while, but I never said I couldn’t take a break, and there were good reasons for taking a break, followed by lazy reason, and then good reasons again.

Good reason – I had dengue fever.And it became a problem. The kind of third world problem that just reminds me that I am in fact, very much in the third world, even if really I get the privileges of the first world. Although considering the fact that my dengue fever got aggravated by pneumonia that I probably caught while waiting in a crowded disease ridden casualty ward is very telling of the time and place, no? Anyway, I was in a bad way. Had tubes coming out of me and everything.

Apparently there was a point when they were anticipating full organ failure followed by life ending death, but they didn’t bother to tell me. I could have had a spiritual/ moral awakening, but because I wasn’t told I came out of the horrifyingly noisy Intensive Care Unit still the morally lacking, blaspheming atheist I was. I didn’t even feel the need to get emotional with my family or friends later, though I’m told they managed that bit quite well on their own. I feel like I’m not using enough commas in the above sentences, but eh…

Lazy reason – I got out, and didn’t feel like writing much…. And the hospital had made me pretty lazy. It took practically all of my willpower to get back into serious working mode for college. Couldn’t quite manage it for everything else. At least I have my priorities straight this time around with college.

Good reason – All of November is very stressful with assignments and projects, and catching up on lost time… And there were some rather stress inducing presentations that I thought went fairly well, given that I had been tripping on Kurkure out of nervousness. I appear to be smart in this new college and I don’t want to lose my edge there. I also don’t want to becoming an annoying smart person so I’m constantly trying not to say too much, and failing constantly at it.

So there. I don’t think I yall a secret or embarrassing detail for every week. I’ll just make it a big one. OK. While I was in the hospital two things happened that I previously thought would be indicators that I should mercy kill myself. 1. I had a fucking catheter through which I had to pee. This was painful, disgusting, embarrassing and I don’t wish to discuss it. 2. There were diapers involved and I couldn’t really clean up after myself so some poor nurse had to do it.

There are many reasons I didn’t kill myself while I was thus incapacitated with blinding shame about my excretory and digestive systems. I had always imagined I would be old and would have lived well before any of this happened. Also, I didn’t have the energy. Also, I hadn’t watched all the Star Treks or the Classic Who serials like I had always thought I would before I died. Also, I didn’t really know how I could possibly kill myself while I was in the ICU except to sneak a syringe full of into one of the IV tubes, but apparently that is very painful. Also, I had barely started liking my life and where it was all going so I didn’t actually want to end it right then. Finally, I kept wondering if just before going to the hospital I had somehow, inadvertently given my family or my friends the impression that they did not make me happy. I didn’t want to leave with that. I would have preferred to have one of those big elaborate pre-funeral funerals…Now that I think about it, I may be one of the few people around who casually wondered about killing myself without knowing that my body could actually give up any moment. Oh, the irony.

There was one thing I must mention that I found rather funny. The catheter meant that I didn’t actually pee… there was a bag that just filled up with my pee over a few days. So basically, I had a bag of what looked like non-aerated mountain dew hanging off the side of my mechanized hospital bed. Had I been up and about, this would mean I would have had to carry a transparent bag of urine around. Every patient in the ICU had their Bag’o’pee as I started calling it in my head, and somehow they both disturbed and amused me.

Never thought I'd use this picture in a proper context, but given the nature of above mentioned grievances....
Never thought I’d use this picture in a proper context, but given the nature of above mentioned grievances….

 

Anyway, there will be no more this week. I will start afresh with a blog post every week from next week on. This week I can’t because I haven’t thought of anything, what with frantically finishing projects for Critical Theory I and Film Theory I and Evolution of Cinema I and so on and so forth. As much as I would love to wax eloquent about philosophy and critical theory and movies, I don’t think people want to read my academic papers on the same, which is essentially the mode I’m in right now, writing wise.

I need to get back in the usual chirpy, depraved mode I usually am in for blog posts. Hopefully two to three days of writing expletive ridden notes in my writing journal thingy should do the trick.

– Billy

P.S. I livestreamed the 50th anniversary Doctor Who episode. 🙂 !!!

Also… here’s some funny/ awesome that I stole from tumblr and throw at your face.

 

Oh Benedict, why must you probe your way thusly into my heart through my vagina and my funny bone?
Oh Benedict, why must you probe your way thusly into my heart through my vagina and my funny bone?

 

:) Spock's Milkshake.
🙂

Pop Culture and Man World

I’m a tumblr person. For those who don’t know what that means, I could surpass this week’s quota for quoting (hehe. Clever.) Louis Armstrong and say “If you have to ask, you’ll never know.” Instead, I will try and explain, because that is just how I roll. Yo.

Tumblr primarily consists of nerdy obsession. Let me clarify – by nerdy obsession I mean a singular and unimpeached devotion towards certain subjects, people, things, shows, books, whatever floats your bong. So this includes sites devoted to pictures of people engaged in passionate coitus (though with tumblr these pictures have a tendency to be more graphic, HD, well lit, well shot and unprecedentedly enjoyable) to gifs of one-liners from the Ian McKellan show Vicious to gifs of people having sex to links and diagrams about science and feminism. You can like anything, you can explain your dislike for anything in an articulate manner, and practically anything goes. The only rule is that your face should automatically crumple up and your genitalia should tense up every time Benedict Cumberbatch appears on your dash, no matter what your gender or sexual orientation. And Benedict Cumberbatch will appear on your dash every two to three posts. I’m pretty sure there’s a clause against Benedict Cumberbatch bashing in the tumblr terms of agreement.

And tumblr has sort of helped me diagnose a certain… thing I have. I haven’t considered myself an introvert since I came out as a fully functional person in 10th grade. I’m not shy or rude or dismissive of people I meet. I suspect that despite my very deep and hidden discomfort in social groups I’m not familiar with, I often either leave no impression or leave a good one. However, as people get to know me more, it becomes pretty clear that I’m not entirely… nice.

I can socialize with people well enough, for a few hours. After that, I feel the need to scratch my face, wash it, chew my tongue incessantly and finally make up an excuse to leave. According to tumblr, this is a symptom of being an introvert. This, when combined with my … lack of feelings can be a bit troublesome, not really for other people, but for me.

For instance, I am often confounded and intensely uncomfortable when people seem to behave in irrational and weirdly emotional ways. Especially if they behave like that over people they just met. I don’t understand how people in my new college are able to have secrets and fights and intense discussions. How can they possibly fight over stupid things with people they just met a few month ago? The only people I fight with, or have painful discussions with, or sexually charged intense conversations with, are those I have known for at least a year. So I am confounded. Which is alright – that brings me to about Abed level of confusion.

However, when this confoundedness interacts with the previously mentioned need to be rid of human company after a few solid hours of getting-to-know-you camaraderie, it inevitable results in Evil Abed, and Sherlock.

Evil Abed in Action

Sherlock Holmes was and still remains a huge part of who I have come to accept myself as. I had read every single piece of Sherlock Homes literature before I was 14. To put it in real cheesy terms, it opened up a world to me. See, I had by that time learnt to disregard feelings unless they were productive or at the least not unproductive. If feelings got in the way of anything else in my life, including my peace of mind, I didn’t pay attention to them. This is a not oft spoken of fact about human affection – if you don’t water it, it eventually withers and dies, especially if the feelings are regarding someone who’s not a big part of your life. If they are a big part of your life, the feelings can hang around in the background, maybe even manifest itself at times, but eventually die out as well. Human feelings are beautiful but fickle. They are the opposite of cacti.

When I read Sherlock at thirteen, you can imagine my… exhilaration at knowing that there were others like me. That there are people who are stable and functional and able to have lives and friends and love without going bonkers about every crush, every emotion and every single thing that has no value in practical terms. I’m not saying I have never been a teenage girl, or never over-reacted to anything, even past eighteen. I have. But only when it seemed lie there was a logical reason for doing so.

The first time I perceived proper friendship for unemotional people was with Sherlock and Watson. I remember the Adventure of the Three Garridebs for this. Watson got shot in it and the Sherlock Holmes did this.

‘You’re not hurt, Watson? For god’s sake tell me you’re not hurt!’

It was worth a wound— it was with many wounds— to know the depth of loyalty and love which lay behind that cold mask. The clear, hard eyes were dimmed for a moment, and the firm lips were shaking. For the one and only time I caught a glimpse of a great heart as well as of a great brain. All my years of humble but single-minded service culminated in that moment of revelation… His face set like flint as he glared at our prisoner, who was sitting up with a dazed face.

‘By the Lord it is well for you. If you had killed Watson, you would not have got out of this room alive.’

While a lot of people love this sort of stuff on television because it’s amusing and interesting to see a character behave out of character (which is understandable – it is amusing), I find it beautiful because I always think of it as very much in character. I like knowing that there are others like me, who don’t like telling people about our feelings till it matters. That it’s possible to be intimate with someone at times without losing our whole personality. I would hate to be addressed as “sensitive” or “hyper-emotional” or “a changed, more open person” just because I nearly cried once in the metro when an old friend returned my long and rambling letter with his own long and rambling letter. Ok fine, that was today. But the point is, I didn’t suddenly become less myself just because I felt something and admitted it. I refuse to be less badass just because I may in the future, fall completely head over heels in love with someone.

And I love geekdom and tumblr for this – that I can get excited about minute details in stories and movies and it would be accepted and appreciated. However, I have also noticed that geekdom doesn’t seem to be very comfortable with girls, even if we have the same neuroses and social problems and confusions as your favorite characters. And this is where we segues uncomfortably into Deep Space Fandom Feminism (you’ll get the joke or you won’t, shitheads) area.

I have started to get the feeling that guys spend way too much time with each other. I remember a term we used for groups of people who seemed to become their worst selves the more time they spent with each other – toxic groups.

I have nothing against men having sleepovers and talking about sports and touching each others muscles, drinking their ales, plundering tropic isles or whatever they do when they’re alone with each other. I do however have a problem with men who get so used to hanging out with just men that they forget that the world of women is not a separate one. That sometimes, women exist inside the little cocoon world you created for yourself, and not in another dimension which you can travel to via portal every time you need a mother’s hug or a vagina to do things with.

One of my friends had a theory once that men who live together with other men at a young age tend to be misogynistic at some level. And that especially in boy’s hostels, the rhetoric about women, including individual women they are acquainted with, is often restricted to a sexual sphere with very few exceptions. This means that there is automatically a struggle between what you think of as the rest of your life, and your life when it comes to girlfriends, friends who are girls, etc.

Consequently, as per rhetoric, Spock being friends (or more) with Kirk (who by the way is as emotionally expressive and demanding and utterly disregarding of regulations and logic as any stereotypical woman) is beautiful and amazing and a testament to human-vulcan attachment; while Spock being in love with Uhura, a woman (who on the other hand is actually very emotionally reticent, and is openly demonstrative on very few occasions, and only when it’s something that matters), is termed as improbable, unbelievable and entirely out of character. How is it that male friendship is somehow seen as the norm that is beautiful, while a healthy relationship involving a woman is somehow less believable for the current generation of nerds? And don’t even get me started on the slash fiction between the two. I have nothing against a widespread acceptance of homosexuality, but not to the exclusion of women.

One of the reasons I seriously loved A Scandal in Belgravia in Sherlock was for this reason. Yes, I really think they could have developed Adler’s character a lot more. And yes, that whole Sherlocked bit seemed way too cheesy (not because she was a woman, but because she was a person), but at no point is there a diminishing of the dynamics between her and Sherlock just because she is a woman. What I find particularly interesting and beautiful is that while Sherlock remains the eternal asexual in many ways (though there are of course doubts about that), his regard for her, as well as his willingness to go out of his way to help her is in no way diminished because she’s a woman and a possible love interest. He does the same things for her as he would do for John. Arguably, not enough time is given to her personality in order for the dynamic between the two to grow on us the way Sherlock and John’s has, but unfortunately the show is about Sherlock and Watson. Every other character cannot really be given as much time as those two (same goes for Mycroft and Lestrade).

But here’s the problem, for every Sherlock and Sheldon and Spock making their tentative steps into the social world, which for them is not divided into that of men and women; there are a bunch of friends and TV shows and video games and everyday language and rhetoric that excludes women from the presence of men categorically and purposely. In fact, I would go so far as to say that if and when Sherlock and Spock and any number of geeky, smart, iconic characters seem to have an intense romantic connection or even a primary friendship with a female character, it is seen as betrayal, not by the characters, but by the writers – how could the writers “sell out” and have our awesome male character who is happy without any annoying nagging girlfriend suddenly feel attached to a girl? I would in fact further argue that this is largely based on a misplaced, and rather ignorant sense of victimization about the way the world and women treats them.

I’m tempted to say it’s probably also got something to do with anger – Spock or Sherlock or Sheldon or The Doctor was supposed to be my single bro friends. How did he get a girl? Well, honey, he got a girl because he wasn’t a dick to her and he acted like she was a person and not just something to come back to at the end of a day.

There is nothing I hate more than when people (I say people because both men and women do this) try to equate every slight problem that a guy has to go through to the systemic and ingrained prejudice, harassment and violence that women go through. It is inevitably a way to nip any mildly feminist thought at the bud. “Yes, I may be following you around and harassing you online and at work, but you don’t have to be such a bitch to me and friendzone me. You’re probably doing it cause you’re superficial and don’t think I’m handsome and you don’t understand true love.”

This was actually addressed in a movie which I have no particular feelings for – The Social Network.

Social Network 1

Social Network 2

Social Network 3

Social Network 4

Social Network 5

You know what sucks? I have seen so many tumblr posts where they just post the one gif with his face crumpling at the words “because you’re a nerd”, as though the people who are posting don’t want to even consider what the scene was actually saying – you don’t get to act like an arrogant prick, whether you’re a jock or a nerd or a porn star, and get to keep the girl. You can’t blame someone for leaving you when you’ve been a dick, and when you don’t treat the other person with kindness and consideration.

And so, even with all the signs (Ted, Scrubs, Star Trek, The Big Bang Theory, New Girl, Sherlock, any number of other shows and movies) pointing in the right direction – hey, if you can just get up the guts to consider women as an equal part of not just society, but the world you inhabit, whether that’s geek world, pop culture world, corporate world or Disney world, you could have a more productive and romantically and sexually fulfilling life, and you’ll probably be less frustrated – geeky guys will complain about all the girls (read “whores” and “sluts”) in pop culture who distract from the awesomeness of male bonding.

Because the world of women, as mentioned previously is ventured into only for the sake of motherly comfort, emotional diarrhea that one would never admit to one’s male friends, and sex. There seems to be very little room for arguments about the relationship without accusations of “too sensitive” or “hyper-emotional” or “overly attached”, and there is no room for talking about anything that is the sacrosanct area of “man talk” – sports, pop culture (this is where the fake geek girl meme really gets to me), and quite awfully, politics and social situations.

It sucks because the geek guys were the ones I sort of rested my faith in mankind on…. since most other guys were very obviously dicks to begin with.

There are exceptions though – some guys in college, Wil Wheaton, the vlogbrothers, Charlie McDonnell probably….

Oh well.

Oh and embarrassing secret cause I took too long to finish writing this – I sort of really teared up in the metro yesterday because I reconnected with a friend over facebook. I found out in the metro because I have a 21st century phone now, which has email services. But yeah, I was all teary and shit. This is the downside to 21st century communication I guess.

– Billy

P.S. – I wanted to give you guys this, in honor of my finding it on the interwebs

It's Leonard Nimoy!! As a handsome human person who smiles and dances with his mouth near a woman's ear!! Gah!!
It’s Leonard Nimoy!! As a handsome human person who smiles and dances with his mouth near a woman’s ear!! Gah!!

Star Trek over Ship of Theseus. Sue me.

I’ve been putting in some extra work at college. This involves not being aware of certain assignments, and paying abysmal attention to others; while reading essays and watching documentaries on Nietzche, Camus and Sartre. Especially since I wrote that bit about Seinfeld and Louis C.K. I’ve been reading up on existentialism and absurdism. However, as can be seen from the title, I will not be talking about them. I will instead be talking about Star Trek and Woody Allen and other stuff like that. As the perceptive and intelligent denizens of the internet that you are, its still about philosophy and sex and love.

Interestingly, philo is derived from phile which means love (as in anglophile, bibliophile, pedophile, cinephile, only two of which define me) and sophy means knowledge, as anyone with a good memory of Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code will tell you. The point being, philosophers are lovers. *Cue Porn Music* (Except Nietzche – he probably died a half virgin.

It would be ... fascinating to see this guy go down on someone's vagina. Or penis.
It would be … fascinating to see this guy go down on someone’s vagina. Or penis.

Someone correct me if I’m wrong. Seriously.) So falling in love even though you’re a smart person shouldn’t be that hard, right? Well, here goes.

I recently watched Ship of Theseus and liked it immensely. The first story is… not my cup of tea, though the cinematography is beautiful. It was too mundane yet melodramatic a context in which to explore the theme of what constitutes personhood. It gave me a sense of tiresome déjà vu. However, the rest of it was thoroughly stimulating. I had hoped that by making a philosophical movie they wouldn’t ignore what I consider to be a very important aspect of philosophy, and perhaps especially so of existentialism, in a manner of speaking – the importance of human connection and dependability; and they were good with that, for the most part.

But here’s my problem – I don’t like it when art is made solely for those who will understand it. I don’t like it when philosophy is… philosophized only for those who understand and care about it, especially in art. I’m not saying everyone who’s not me is a plebeian, I’m saying my mother fell asleep while watching it, and a lot of my friends got irritated and left.

I on the other hand, went to the Kiran Nadar museum (The Zones of Contact exhibition) recently and I felt a lot like my mother and my friends did in the movie. The arts students kept telling me that it was fine if I didn’t understand something, and it only mattered if I felt anything when I saw a piece and all that rot. But here’s the thing – some people take modern art appreciation courses, read up a lot about the artists, and clearly understood and felt more things than I did.And these are the people who are likely to feel encouraged to go to other museums with modern art installations. Call me a romantic but the reason I like movies more than any other art is because if it talks down to anyone, it’s usually talking down to everyone.

In a far more satisfying experience, I watched the 2009 Star Trek recently. And then I watched Into Darkness, because Spock Kirk Uhura Benedict Cumberbatch, followed closely by a re-watching of The Original Series.

I watched the Original Series for the first time a year or two ago. I had heard that Star Trek is more philosophical and complicated that Star Wars, and had prepared myself for getting bored beyond the deaths of relatives I never knew existed. I had forgotten that philosophy comes in many forms, and especially forgotten that it also came in the form of campy yet entertaining sci-fi. Did watching the original Doctor Who teach me nothing? Philosophy in Star Trek consisted of in your face evaluation of the human condition, set in a future that somehow did not have personal computers. And not in the shitty way that “human condition” makes it sound. My favorite part is Spock, everywhere. Because I think I have given enough proof of my unwillingness to consider feelings (whether mine or other’s) unless they result in something productive and useful; and especially if they result in something stupid and wasteful.

Fandom is a curious thing, and I’m not talking about run of the mill fans of actors or movies. Saying you’re a fan, an actual true to Satan fan, of something or someone doesn’t mean you form closed groups of people who are also fans and illogically and irrationally defend every single thing that the actor or the film or the franchise does. In the context of shows and movies, it doesn’t mean getting angry if someone doesn’t like it.

What it means is that you pay minute attention to detail while watching, your enthusiasm for it is entirely unmitigated, you catalogue practically everything you know about it (mentally or literally), and analyze the good and the bad, giving due consideration to every articulated opinion. And despite acknowledged failings, you still love the thing. Because you know every detail of it and the pile of good things in it is greater than the pile of bad things (watch Vincent and The Doctor to get that reference, n00bs), you will explain every single position, everything you like and dislike, and still come out being in love.

For instance, I have read every single one of the Sherlock Holmes stories, know practically every single opinion that characters in the series have of Sherlock, know every single way in which Holmes was pulling something out of his cultural stereotype bucket when he gave his deductions, and while I may not have watched every single TV series or movie based on the stories, I have watched a lot of them and I love Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman despite the fact that the latter makes me feel really old (because he was once a cute guy on a cute show that I watched once as a kid).

Did such a perfect love ever exist outside of the realm of the imaginary?

There are many themes and areas of human existence and the human condition that philosophy looks at, and I usually don’t give two shits. What I feel is a great disservice in any philosophical reading, is in not paying much importance to the presence and the importance of other individuals – the other person, the role model, the acquaintance, the people one doesn’t like, the friend.There may be some things that human beings undertake in utter solitude and some other things we do while participating in orgies, but by and large, we conduct it trying to impress and screw over each other in the most beautiful of defecatious ways. I made a new word.

So if philosophy is trying to understand the human condition, and is at all concerned with the human condition, isn’t conversation and lying and crying and fucking and kissing and holding hands and keeping a space between where your hand ends its wave trajectory and where someone else’s penis may happen to begin, all incredibly part of the business of knowing oneself? So how is that less meaningful? The most insight I have ever gotten into myself and other people is by watching Woody Allen movies, Ingmar Bergman’s comedies (do they qualify as comedies? I find them funny, but the things I find funny are often not funny or acceptable) and hearing Louis C.K. speak. Not all of them are hopeful or happy or based entirely on fart jokes, but they are all mostly about human interactions.

If I want, I can read up on what existentialism says about interconnectivity, or about surrealism, and get a deeper understanding of Stranger than Fiction or Amelie; but its equally possible for me to not read up on anything, enjoy the film and get some perspective on life because of it. In fact, I may feel like I want to know more because it was entertaining and beautiful to watch, and read up on it afterwards just for funsies.That is what art should be – just talking, comprehensibly. Like Before Sunrise. You don’t need to know anything in order to watch that movie. But you may still come out feeling like something awesome just happened to your life.

This, as opposed to feel as though I should read and know more so that it becomes entertaining and beautiful to watch. I don’t buy the nonsense of art for art’s sake. If it was for art’s sake, you’re ignoring the fact that everyone else is looking at it after you put it up on a wall precisely so everyone else may look at it. If it was art for art’s sake, you should have burnt up your work, you should have pissed off every person you met who may have helped or understood based on random crap, much like Poe. But nobody wants to be Poe. If you really wanted to be Poe, nobody would know you existed, as opposed to a thousand people in the intellectual world.

Just face it – your life is based more on other people no matter how much you want it to be completely yours. And your pearls of wisdom are going to be nuggets of crap that doesn’t matter to most of the people around you unless you explain yourself in a manner that makes a busy person want to take time out to listen. Anurag Kashyap – He’s good at that. So is Aamir Khan to a certain extent.

So I guess what I’m saying is, and this is the embarrassing confession in lieu of missing last week’s post – I keep trying to stop reading erotic Fanfiction, but it’s a lost cause. And not only do I read it, I write it. And may I add, from the reviews I have received, if ever I want a career in writing for Penthouse or Playboy (do they have an erotic literature section?) or Ellora’s Cave or something, it wouldn’t be a problem. At all.

That’s all, folks.

– Billy

P.S. – this is my phone wallpaper right now.

I don't give a dingleberry is this is photoshopped.
I don’t give a dingleberry if this is photoshopped.