I (thoughtfully) spent my tax return on some fun things this week. Some spring wardrobe additions, a new camera lens (Sigma 50mm f/1.4), and a Casio keyboard.
I am an absolute music novice, but I’ve been thinking a lot about music creation lately (more on this later). So I’m starting from the beginning. So far I know about Forks and Chopsticks and how to play “You Are My Sunshine”. It’s gonna be a bit of a process.
Meanwhile, in other concepts completely foreign to me… I start a 401k next month. What up, adulthood?
Ok. Onto the things I dig.
What We Talk About When We Talk About God
Rob Bell’s newest book. I’m really enjoying it. Honestly, the only other book of his I’ve finished is Sex God. All the others I read while attending Mars Hill during his time as teaching pastor. It was just kind of repetitive, “Yep. I get it. You said this last week.” It’s nice to read fresh content that he’s written free of pastoral constraints.
Who Told You That You Were Naked?
I just picked this one up yesterday after watching a fantastic livestream discussion organized by Crunk Feminist Collective. The book is about reconciling theological and sexual ethics, specifically in the lives of black women.
There has been a lot of writing the past couple week around Steubenville, rape culture, etc. Here are a couple of my favorites.
5 Ways We Can Teach Men Not To Rape
Zerlina Maxwell went on Sean Hannity to debate the effectiveness of guns in rape-prevention. (Don’t even get me started.) She was then bombarded online with racially and sexually charged death threats and general vitriol. Regardless, she wrote this piece on Ebony. I would try to pull a quote, but it’s all great. Go read it in full.
A Letter to My Sons About Stopping Rape
I love the way this is written. Been struck lately by how important it is to teach kids about bodily autonomy and respect from birth.
Cabin-Time x Wilderness
Here’s a pretty thing for you. Cabin-Time is a roaming creative residency where some beautiful things are created. My friend Carson created this gorgeous video during their last session.
Tongue Tied - Tina and the Total Babes
Been trying to force Spring into being by listening to as much upbeat rock’n’roll as possible. Cheap Trick, The Detroit Cobras, The Ramones, etc. This particular hook has been in my head all week. One of those crank-it-and-dance jams.
And finally, Jean Claude VanDamme smelling some chocolate. Happy Friday!
Then watch this.
"The thing you got to realize, what we’re doing is not a trend."
You can be whatever you wanna be, baby.
(I love that there’s even an aspect ratio shift)
WATCHING: The West Wing
I used to watch this with my folks every Wednesday night. I think it was on Wednesdays. I remember bits and pieces, but this re-watch has been amazing. I’m almost done with season 3. My dreams are filled with walk and talks and my ipad is filled with silly things like The Washington Post, White House Press Releases, and US Government flashcards.
And the characters. Oh, the characters. There’s no point making a list because I love them all. I will give a quick shout out to my girl, CJ Cregg. I love her so.
LISTENING: The Xx - Coexist
I got this album for Christmas and I finally gave it a listen last week. I was not expecting to be so affected. It’s entrancing. It’s sweet and terrible and dreamy and actually caused me physical pain in my chest.
Do yourself a favor, grab some over-the-ear-headphones, put this on, lay on the floor, and float away.
(I would recommend limiting your repeat plays, however, or you might slip into a deep melancholy. Just a heads up.)
READING: The Revolution Was Televised by Alan Sepinwall
A fun little cultural study looking at the origins and runs of twelve different TV shows that have brought television where it is today. The list: Oz, The Sopranos, The Wire, The Shield, Deadwood, Lost, Buffy, 24, Battlestar, Friday Night Lights, Mad Men, and Breaking Bad.
DIGGING: “Death by Mel” by Emily Roz (via popculturepirate)
"144 polaroid images of everyone Mel Gibson killed in his movies, in chronological order."
A counselor once asked me the question, “What is the lie you’ve been told by life? That you are too much or not enough?” I’ve been told both and believed both, but especially the former. I’m too emotional. Too opinionated. Too tall. Too much.
Tuesday evening I was listening to Springsteen on my drive home from work. Tougher Than the Rest came on, and as I listened, I just started crying. It caught me off-guard, and it took me a little while to unpack why it affected me so much. At the time I just kept thinking, “That. That. I want that.” I went home and listened to more of Bruce’s love songs to try and pinpoint what that was.
"We swore we’d travel, darlin’ side by side
We’d help each other stay in stride
But each lover’s steps fall so differently
But I’ll wait for you
And if I should fall behind
Wait for me.”
It’s unfortunate that romance has become such a minefield of patriarchy bombs. (Even the word has negative connotations for me. Tasteless chocolate, guilt-ridden jewelry commercials, etc.)
My brain seems to approach so many situations (or even day dreams!) with a barrage of culture criticism, ”Do I want this because it’s a legitimate expression of affection? Or am I just socialized to think that it is and I’m really buying into the patriarchy?” It’s a downward spiral, folks.
When constantly submerged in feminist blogs/essays/etc, my brain has the remarkable ability to twist normally positive messages into subconscious insults. ”You don’t need a significant other to be happy,” turns into, “You shouldn’t want one at all.” Loneliness and the desire for companionship equals weakness and a need to re-evaluate one’s priorities. It weighs heavily on me sometimes, this feeling that wanting a companion is somehow a betrayal to the movements I care about.
I don’t think that’s what any individual writers intend, but between the endless writings of principle and the mainstream portrayals of love, it starts to feel like we’re allowed to have either passion or equanimity in relationships, but not both.
The thing is that equanimity and mutual respect are exactly the things that can make passion work in the right way. That’s what Bruce understands. Side-by-side. Together. It’s an invitation to vulnerability. Not knowing the answers to many things, but knowing that you want to figure it out with this person. This invitation from someone who sees you as an equal is so much more appealing and exciting than the empty adoration of someone who wants to treat you like a possession.
"Wendy let me in I wanna be your friend
I wanna guard your dreams and visions
Just wrap your legs round these velvet rims
And strap your hands ‘cross my engines
Together we could break this trap
We’ll run till we drop, baby we’ll never go back
Will you walk with me out on the wire
'cause baby I'm just a scared and lonely rider
But I gotta know how it feels
I want to know if love is wild, babe
I want to know if love is real”
"Together, Wendy, we can live with the sadness, I’ll love you with all the madness in my soul."
That line. Oof. Right to the core.
That’s legit passion. And that’s what I want. I want someone who is balls to the wall, all chips on the table, wants to be. with. me. That’s it. Someone who is not afraid of my “too-muchness”. Someone who says, "So if you’re rough enough for love, honey, I’m tougher than the rest."