Obsessed with the flower setting

On my Canon EOS, there’s this little flower. If you turn it on, everything you shoot becomes artsy looking. Here, for example, are some things I shot in Greece. Look, it’s almost like I gave a fuck.

News on the walls of Delphi.

Conglomerate stone with shells in it. Greece, apparently, used to be covered with water. Hence the shells in the most random places. Like tops of mountains, or in your shoes. Here's an example from Olympia.

A window in the temple of Asclepios. He was the god of health and nurturing. His temple was what we would now refer to as a "Day time spa/night time brothel"

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Fun

There’s nothing quite like randomly inducing epilepsy attacks. It gives the day a feel of Grey’s Anatomy, and HOW could you ever tire from that tour de force of dramatic writing!?

My legs in a fashionista stance

Covert offences

Okay, I realize that this post is a little late compared to when all this happened, but my point still stands, and I haven’t really found anyone who thinks like I on this.

For a long while I have, quite frankly, had my knickers in a twist about censorship in America. I see the point that swearwords are bad, especially the ones targeting a group such as the N-word or the F-word (I can’t type them out, to me it’s offensive). They shouldn’t be said because of their historical connotations and layer upon layers of discriminatory meaning ingrained in their use.
This post is about the fact that I have, for a long time, thought that censorship of words like fuck and shit, which children are exposed to anyway, misses the point.

Censoring these words give the impression that it’s easy to know if someone is being offensive or not, just listen to the words! If there’s a “fuck” in it, it’s probably offensive! Unfortunately, offensive sentences and positions are seldom gift-wrapped with a “shit” on top of them for you to notice.

A couple of months ago, the conservative radio-shrink Dr. Laura was fired from her job. A person called her radio show complaining that she, a woman of color, was experiencing racist name-calling from her husband’s, a white man, friends. Earlier in the conversation, Dr. Laura had said that she didn’t think stereotyping blacks was racist, because black people voted for Obama only because he was black.

She the proceeded to complain that black comedians were allowed to use racial stereotyping, but not whites. And that’s when she said “Black guys use it all the time. Turn on HBO, listen to a black comic, and all you hear is nigger, nigger, nigger.” (read the entire cringe-inducing transcript here). She defended it by saying she was reclaiming her first amendment rights, but ultimately, she was fired.

My position is this: I haven’t heard much of Dr. Laura’s programmes. But I have, in research for this post, read some of her transcripts. Saying that racial stereotyping (She fondly remembers saying to her black bodyguard that “White men can’t jump”, so she wanted him on her basketball team.) isn’t racist, isn’t just wrong, it’s offensive as all hell.

She has had this programme for a number of years, surely answering questions on race relations and other inflammatory subjects. I simply refuse to believe that in all these years, she hasn’t said a single offensive thing. Here’s an example where she gives her vocal and ferocious support of an anti-abortion campaign showing dead fetuses on the side of trucks. That, to me, is incredibly offensive to a right women acquired in Roe v. Wade several decades ago. Yet, the idea of firing her isn’t even brought up, because there was no slur.

Offensive things are said everywhere, all the time. Seldom are they as easy to spot as a “fuck” in a Lil’ Wayne video. We have to keep our eyes open to it. Censoring moves focus from the meaning of a sentence to a simple word. It seems like a futile attempt at screening young people from offensive things. It doesn’t. They can turn on Fox News and listen to birthers, a movement that is fuelled on badly hidden misogyny. That’s offensive.

My point is this: Dr Laura was an ill-informed, ignorant, misogynist broadcaster before she used a racial slur. Why does it have to come to that? Using racial slurs is inexcusable and horribly disgusting. But just because you don’t use them doesn’t mean you can’t voice disgusting opinions.

Literary significance

A couple of years ago I read a quote that made quite the impression on me. Of course now I don’t remember who said it (although a literature Nobel prize winner does ring a bell. It wasn’t Elfride Jelinek. I hate Elfride Jelinek.), but it struck a chord with me for some reason. She was asked what the worst book she had ever read was. Her reply was that the mere fact that a human being has sat down and written something gives everything value, if not in terms of literature, then in terms of anthropology (when forced to choose she went for Angels & Demons).

I found it interesting because it is so true. Even though a book or a poem is total garbage, you can at least ponder the fact that the person who has written it has done it that way for a reason. Is it because they have bad taste? Is it because their mother was never harsh enough on their drawings and they have no filter? Is there even such a thing as objectively good taste?

I have held this view, that all writings have some sort of value, for a very long time. Until now. Until I came upon Swedish teen bloggers. I have been faced with the question if there are things so trivial, banal, trite that they don’t deserve to be eternally etched in writing. Let me give you some examples. This first one comes from http://www.kenzas.se. She is a 20-year old moderately successful model, but her main activity is blogging. Her blog has about 300.000 individual hits a day. This is a random post I read yesterday:

“I just wanted to wish you all a cozy night! My boyfriend and I have had a delicious dinner and now we’re cozying it up in front of the TV. Cozy! (I wonder how many times a day I use the word cozy haha)”

So, you may think this is something I searched for in order to prove my point. But alas, it was not. Let’s have another one. Here’s Kissie, a surgically enhanced 20-year old (these are all almost exactly the same age as me, it’s terrifying), the only thing she spends time doing is updating her blog, I don’t think she attends school but I’m not sure. I’ll try to translate this little gem and maintain the utter banality and lack of writing skill.

“I simply have to go find some school where I can get my driver’s licence…. Hmmm… Hard to know which one to choose! But it’ll turn out fine, that’s like, the least of my problems.. In fact I think I’ll be a mean driver, I learn everything in like no time! And how hard can driving be really…?;)

This information is propelled into the vulnerable minds of the 300.000 pre-teen readers.

There are people who are gifted writers. Honestly, I’d pay money for a post-it if Virginia Woolf had written her grocery list on it, simply because she is a flawless human being. The same goes for Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Vita Sackwille-Vest. Every time they put pen to paper, magic happens. Deep, complex and awe-inspiring magic. Then there’s the other group who couldn’t compose an engrossing sentence if their life depended on it. While I love the fact that blogs exist, it has in a way legitimised being a shitty writer but still having an audience. The amount of self-censoring is at a minimum. Something as basic as a spell-check is regarded as unimportant. It saddens me, really. Because language is a wonderful tool, and there should be some respect when one has the use of it as THEIR JOB. The honour (and I realise how old I sound) people used to put in what they put their name on is gone, and we read to be bored, not to be entertained.

I think what I’m getting at is that all text is in a way important, because it shows us something. What have we learned about these two girls through their writing?

– They are horrible writers with no sense of language, metrics, rythm, or vocabulary.

– They underestimate the value of writing and only use it as a tool to promote themselves, simultaneously valuing it enough to put it out to hundreds of thousands of people, because that’s just how important they are.

– I have lost all faith in the human race.

I just finished The Crack-Up by F. Scott Fitzgerald. In it he mentions how he’s churning out short stories, but they are so bad that he would never publish them, not because he thinks the public won’t like it (as he says, they’ll eat anything that’s served with a stiff drink), but because everything that’s written isn’t meant to be shown. It devalues his worth in his own eyes, because you are your body of work.

I am by no means a great writer, although I hope to be one some day. But one must appreciate that writing is an art, a way to affect people, a talent. It’s not to be tossed around lightly. When you put something up for everyone to see, at least find a synonym for cozy if you are to use that word three times. I mean, at least one other word.

/end rant