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A Blog About Culture

Recognition, Situation, Identity, Reality

This is the way my stream-of-consciousness works:

1. Today a woman I’d just met asked if I’d be interested in sitting for the life drawing class she teaches. I’m considering doing it, but I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t have to be nude, because I am not down with that. (She said no; the students just do facial portraits in the class.)

2. Nudity –> the existence of pornography

3. Williams, Linda. 1989. “Hard Core Utopias: Problems and Solutions.” In Hard Core: Power, Pleasure, and the ‘Frenzy of the Visible,’  153-184. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

(Contains mature content.)

4. Dyer, Richard. “Entertainment and Utopia.” In The Cultural Studies Reader, edited by Simon During, 371-381. 2nd edition. New  York: Routledge, 2001. (Sorry I couldn’t find it in a fancy blog box like the above.)

5. Fantasy as utopia.

6. Reality as utopia.

The above articles are all about entertainment —  including television, musicals, and the pornography industry — as providing venues for perceived escape from issues in society. They give ways to envision options for negotiating those issues safely; Dyer calls the process “playing with fire,” because while the problems are raised, there is no actual obligation to address them. But they’re there. In the very process of producing these forms of entertainment, the issues are there. (By the way, I am just summarizing any Intro to Cultural Theory class right now; don’t think that I am making this up on my own.)

What I started thinking about, though, is what about the above is a strict product of fantasy or unreality?  What about pretense as a construction of fantasy in reality to avoid social turmoil? The creation of an outward identity to mitigate the inner or the real or the Self? For some, myself included, the struggle or strain that we feel in our internal selves eventually ceases to exist if we pretend it doesn’t. (Or does it?)

Let be be finale of seem.

–Wallace Stevens, “The Emperor of Ice Cream

Looks like I should start a “Questions of Identity” label for my blog. For my life.

Feel free to comment, but none of this “be the person you are when no one’s looking” nonsense.


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