Monday, April 26, 2010 I'm delighted to learn that I'm a finalist in this year's Erotic Awards! It's a benefit for Outsiders, a club for disabled people founded by the great Tuppy Owens.
Some of my fellow finalists are: Pye Jakobsen and Thierry Schaffauser (in the Sex Worker category), Dr Michael Goodyear (Academic), Dr Petra Boynton (Blog) and Lib-Dem Chris Davies (Politician) who has accused the UK government of making up its 'sex trafficking' statistics. You can read about the other Erotic Finalists here.
Award winners will be announced this Friday at Night of the Senses. The first prize is a golden flying phallus hand-carved for the occasion in Bali - currently held by Lib Dem Baroness Sue Miller (for Politician of the Year 2009)
If you're in London, you still have time to get a ticket. It's going to be an amazing night! Read about it here.
Monday, April 12, 2010 Audio Archives: Making sex-ed a crime
On Friday, Wisconsin State Rep. Tamara Grigsby spoke to Alan Colmes about her battle with a district attorney who is threatening to prosecute sex-ed teachers. The discussion was kind of amazing. You can read more about this here, on Alan's website.
Massenet's 1873 opera, Marie-Magdeleine, celebrates the pin-up girl (and fallen woman) who was the first witness to the Resurrection. Today, Easter Sunday, is indeed her special day.
Marie-Magdeleine was a hit show, even in the US. (The tunes are excellent: listen here.) But after the First World War, for most of the 20th century, this lovely opera was forgotten. Musical entertainment based on the gospel, huge at one time, went into decline.
Massenet's OTHER opera about a fallen woman, Manon, is more well-known, and ends with a prostitute’s tragic death. Marie-Magdeleine brings better news: Christianity's most famous prostitute, very much alive, announcing the Resurrection.
Seriously, though. Every government needs to be criticized often - and reigned in. Sex workers know this better than many people. But you can't be an effective anti-authoritarian if you (a) don't understand the meaning of the words you use and (b) spend too much time reading the last... book... of the Bible.
Friday, March 26, 2010 BBC Woman's Hour: On the new laws affecting the sex indy
Thursday,25 March 2010
From the BBC: Changes in the law will affect prostitution and the licensing of lap dancing clubs in England and Wales. Cari Mitchell from the English Collective of Prostitutes and Anna Van Heeswijk from Object debate the impact of the legislation... Listen here
Saturday, March 06, 2010 The GFE Through the Ages: Pretty Woman at 20
In my latest column at ABC.net, it's Pretty Woman - the biggest grossing movie of 1990 - versus The Girlfriend Experience, a low-budget film about a high-priced call girl.
In Pretty Woman, a streetwalker becomes an economic reformer, showing a corporate raider the error of his ways. The Girlfriend Experience, set during the 2008 financial crisis, has no room for that kind of idealism.
I talked to Jessie Abraham, a Darwin escort with an intriguing mission at SexWorkIsRealWork.com. She has surprising things to say about relationships - and about Cheri, in which Michelle Pfeiffer plays the part of fictional courtesan Lea de Lonval. The comment section is open for business! I hope you'll respond.
Friday, March 05, 2010 Agony Aunts Then and Now: Available for three more days, free audio
A lively conversation between Irma Kurtz and Simone Bienne. Do have a listen. My jaw drops when Irma talks about a woman of 20 berated by her husband for depriving him of the RIGHT to deflower a virgin!
And I suddenly remember my first grade teacher berating my mom - for committing the unpardonable sin of teaching a child to read. Depriving her of what she saw as her specific duty or right, as a teacher of six-year-olds. A year later, we moved into town because my rents felt that something was a bit off about the school system in this particular suburb.
Tuesday, March 02, 2010 Kristin Davis: More appropriate than ever! On Monday, I woke at an ungodly hour, to attend a morning news conference at the Roosevelt Hotel. It was traumatic but worth it! Kristin Davis, the New York madam who was arrested for running an escort agency during the Eliot Spitzer scandal, says she supplied him with call girls for five years—when he was attorney general and when he was governor of New York. (Not to mention his abusive record, busting escort agencies and promoting anti-customer laws.)
Now she's campaigning as an independent for his former job. The timing is noteworthy because Spitzer is rumored to be considering a return to electoral politics.
I enjoyed meeting Kristin's campaign team, including communications director Andrew (pictured, in a black newsie.)
Kristin isn't the first sex worker to run for political office. I interviewed Thierry Schaffauser (Liste des Verts, Paris) and US activist Norma Jean Almodovar (Libertarian Party), in addition to Kristin. Read about it here: http://tinyurl.com/KDgov2010.
Sunday, February 28, 2010 Morning Brew: New York 10:10pm tonight aka Hong Kong 11:10am
Tracy will be on the radio at 11:10 am Hong Kong time, Monday, 1 March. You can listen online here or wait for the archive if you miss the show. She'll be discussing her Daily Beast column about the rigors of sex worker romance.
Thursday, February 25, 2010 Should You Give Up Your Day Job for a Man?
We hate to admit this, but for quite a few of us ladies it's easy to get all hot and bothered when the man we love resents our work. It makes us feel like the star of our own private, x-rated soap opera.
And we're more forgiving than we might be if we worked in, say, a bank or a department store. In fact, we would regard any man who resents his wife/girlfriend working at a bank as an abusive, scary nutter. Men who don't think women should work are out of step in mainstream Western life.
But an exception is made for men who love women in the sex industry.
Adult-film actress Joslyn James (aka Veronica Siwik-Daniels) says she stopped working because her alleged lover, Tiger Woods, was "very jealous." She has a high profile lawyer and, quite possibly, a valid claim. You can watch the video and read my latest Daily Beast column here.
I'd love to know what you think! Would you quit turning tricks/making films for a guy? Is this a problem for male sex workers? Or is it just the girls who fall for this line? Write to DearTQ@tracyquan.net
Wednesday, February 10, 2010 Audio Archives: What's kinky about a recession?
I was going to add this to my archives on December 8, 2009.
But the Tiger Woods scandal interrupted everybody's life - and I totally forgot. Mid-upload, I just got totally distracted by the demands of the scandal machine. And we all know you cannot argue with a machine.
Well, Tiger is less of a burning issue now, but we're still in a recession. Today (surprised?) this interview from February 2009 sounds more current than Tiger's love life, but we knew that was going to happen, didn't we? Listen here.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010 Ominous Obituary Edits
It's curiously touching to think of Louis Auchincloss and Howard Zinn dying within 24 hours of each other. They were both preoccupied with class, in different ways.
Whilst reading the Times obit for Auchincloss, this tasty morsel caught my eye:
' Some critics compared him with other modern novelists of manners like John O'Hara and J. P. Marquand. In an essay in The Nation in 1960, Mr. Auchincloss said both O'Hara and Marquand had illusions about the resiliency and endurance of American social classes and hierarchies. O'Hara wrote him, saying: "You obviously have not read all my novels, and I have not read one of yours. I don't know anything about your importance as a lawyer, but in my league you are a still a batboy, and 43 is pretty old for a batboy." Over the years Mr. Auchincloss would send his reviews to O'Hara with a cover letter signed, "Batboy." O'Hara was not amused. '
One of my best friends is an O'Hara fanatic. So much so that a passing reference to O'Hara in a recent Katie Roiphe essay transformed Katie's piece into an essay about O'Hara. Which it never was, but never mind. We had a long argument about O'Hara. I "won" through the use of pre-emptive empathic reasoning (which is more like pre-emptive war than you'd think.) "You obviously wish they had commissioned a piece about John O'Hara," I said, and we were friends again.
ANYWAY. Dig this spookiness. I read about the O'Chinclossness (see above) a few hours ago. I went back to retrieve the relevant passage for Charlie from the Times and IT WAS GONE. DISAPPEARED. Very frustrating.
I'm a competent enough human search engine, so I did a diligent search of the obit (same link, different text) and of the Times website. Then I googled more creatively. Behold! A page called (appropriately enough) alt.obituaries. Thank you, alt-people, for grabbing the original. Harumph.
George Flint, a lobbyist for Nevada's licensed brothel owners, has been vocal about one madam's decision to hire male sex workers. While I don't agree with his tactics or his arguments, I sympathize with his intent - which is to keep legal brothels legal.
The whiggish view of prostitution law has been proven wrong too many times. Sexual attitudes do have a tendency to zig-zag. Progress is not permanent, and decriminalization is only part of the story. In Taipei, licensed prostitutes were REcriminalized by politicians trying to appease Western moralists. In Copenhagen where sex work is legalized, the Lord Mayor (a woman) is part of an insidious anti-prostitution campaign.
My latest Guardian column gets into it here and the comments are flying!
Return to the Hundred Acre Wood is a shocking book because it exists. Nobody (that I know of) has offered to burn it, but it was definitely conceived in sin. Who, you may wonder, "authorized" David Benedictus to mess with A.A. Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh quartet by adding a fifth volume to the series?
The new "friend" created for Pooh, Piglet, Tigger et al. is Lottie the Otter - a concession to feminism totally out of place in the Hundred Acres. Guess it wasn't PC to let Kanga enjoy being the only female in the forest.
Worse yet, Benedictus has compromised Eeyore’s integrity by making him “proactive.” For more than 80 years, Eeyore was the embodiment of unbearable pessimism, an iconic grouch whose self-pity prepared us for the miseries of grown-up affluence. Of all the Hundred Acre dwellers, Eeyore is the one we can least afford to lose. He makes co-dependence and the fear of failure less isolating. He is there during that dark night of the soul - or was, until Benedictus began meddling with the sacred.
It was one thing for Disney to reconfigure Milne's stories and Ernest Shepherd's illustrations. The Disney characters were easy to ignore. A book that purports to be part of Milne's collection is quite a different matter.
Mark Burgess, the illustrator, pays homage to Shepherd, but some characters have turned out better than others. Piglet is the most recognisable, Christopher Robin the least.
Rabbit - so managerial and doctrinaire, the most human character in these woods - has been tragically reconceived by Burgess as a stage bunny.
More about Lottie and A.A. Milne here in the latest issue of The Drawbridge.
Monday, December 21, 2009 Solstice Greetings! I hear that Three Naked Ladies, blog-child of Jodi Sh. Doff, may decide to include my comments in their end of the year round-up. Stay tuned.
UPDATE 12/23: Yes, it's up now. Three Naked Ladies at the end of a decade. It's a great honor to be included. By the way, I had no idea it was the end of a decade until my editor Will Doig mentioned it to me.
"J’ai eu envie de jouer avec le concept du tourisme et des vacances qui sont rares chez les travailleuses sexuelles. Les prostituées n’ont que peu de vacances et du coup quand elles en prennent, celles-ci ont une autre ampleur. C’est une manière de dire qu’elle prend également des vacances dans sa tête. Cela révèle des pensées féminines. Le personnage principal Nancy est une call girl qui n’a jamais quitté jamais New-York car elle est très attachée à cette ville. Elle n’a absolument aucune idée de ce qu’elle va vivre. Le roman est aussi un combat sur l’engagement de chacun et sur les questions que pose la prostitution. J’ai été inspirée en me disant que Tintin serait réincarné en prostituée ce qui est une situation complètement absurde." - Men's Health
Ashley Dupré (outed by the New York Times in 2008 because she had done a session with Eliot Spitzer) is in the news again. This week, she spoke out about the Tiger Woods scandal and lambasted the golf pro's concubines for abusing their access to the media by cashing in on sex with a married celeb.
My take in today's Daily Beast: "Ashley is emerging as a gritty modern ethicist. Tiger, for reasons we can only begin to analyze, isn't turned on by safety and ethics, and who can blame him? Hanging out with sex workers isn't risky enough, from an emotional perspective—and professionals are unlikely to idolize him."
Saturday, November 28, 2009 Radio Archives: A lively chat with Judith Regan
I'm getting my radio archives in order! This isn't on the Interview page yet, but it will be. Soon.
Judith is a hoot. She talked about the Spitzer look and her own unique approach to parenting. Also, will Facebook put sex workers out of business? And lifestyles of runaway teens. Here's the interview... because Yvonne Dunleavy's one fabulous godmother!
Saturday, November 14, 2009 MM Relics: Welcome Service tonight at 7:30, St Thomas Aquinas, 249 Ninth Street, Brooklyn
Mary Magdalen will be in Park Slope for the next 24 hours or so. From the Diocese website:
"At St. Thomas Aquinas, a welcoming Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, Nov. 14 at 7:30 p.m. and will be followed by an all-night prayer vigil. On the following day, the relics will be present as the parish completes the celebration of its 125th anniversary. There will be a 9 a.m. Mass in English, and an 11 a.m. procession with the relics. At noon, Msgr. Steven Ferrari, Vicar for Brooklyn, will celebrate a bi-lingual Mass."
Thursday, November 12, 2009 The Weekend: Mary Magdalene in Brooklyn Friday, Nov. 13 - Sat 11/14
Fri-Sat Schedule: I got a phone call this morning from a lady at St. James Cathedral who told me to get a pen because time was short. She confirmed the events and said, "We will only have possession of the relics until 7:00 pm on Saturday." I think that could mean 6:30 in real time.
The relic will arrive on Friday in the afternoon. (Coming from Huntington Seminary with Father Romaric who has replaced Fr Michelet, the priest I met at St Vincent Ferrer.)
A short service will begin at 5 pm and the relics will be available for veneration until 10 pm. On Saturday, veneration begins at 9 am, followed by a mass at noon. Afternoon is for general public veneration. The Cathedral events sound quiet and dignified. The monsignor told me there are no plans for a procession.
RELIQUARY DIARY: October 22. Entering St. Michael Catholic Church in Gainesville, GA. A video of Father Michelet and slideshow. Close-up images, including the procession. Change of pace to see a smaller gathering and to hear Father Michelet's extremely persuasive, comforting voice. You can download this short video and see how the relic is handled or managed as she exits the van. The sound of birds in the background is very soothing.
BEAST: Mary Magdalene is visiting the New York area until November 17. A relic of Mary Magdalene, patron saint of fallen women, the Dominican Order and Provence, is touring the US for the first time. My latest column in The Daily Beast explores the implications for the Church, as well as my personal and political relationship with this unique, multifaceted saint.
VIDEO: A wonderful video from Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana, where she stopped before her return to NYC.
UPDATE: She will be venerated this Friday Nov. 13 and Saturday Nov. 14 at St James Cathedral, Brooklyn. Friday evening from 5:00 pm - 10:00 pm with a short service at 5:00. Saturday all day from 9:00 am til 7:00 pm. Be there or be square.
UPDATE: The image of the Magdalene on the St Thomas Aquinas site is gorgeous! This is definitely the pre-conversion Magdalene. Sunday @ 11 am: Procession with the Relics followed by 12 noon Bilingual Mass For more info: 718-768-9471
DIARY: Just spoke to Father Joseph at Most Precious Blood church in Bath Beach, Brooklyn. He says 1000 people came to venerate the Magdalen relic today. The relic arrived at 10:30 am and there was a mass at 11 am, followed by private veneration from 2-3pm, and Holy Hour from 3-4pm.
Thursday 11/12: Relics of St. Mary Magdalene will be @ Seminary of the IC, Huntington, NY all day
"Relics of St. Mary Magdalene have been venerated in the Diocese of Frejus-Toulon, France since the second century. One of these relics, a piece of the tibia, can be venerated in the Main Chapel of the Seminary of the Immaculate Conception in Huntington."
Wednesday, October 21, 2009 Standing Up to the Prohibitionist Shills
Have sex traffic levels been exaggerated? Nikki Adams of the ECP takes on the Mirror-quoting Dennis McShane. Watch the video. posted by Tracy Quan
Tuesday, October 20, 2009 Bedding Your Boss
What kind of woman sleeps with her boss? In the ’90s, she was cast as a victim, in the ’60s as a predator. What women want - and how the rules of the game have changed, in my latest week's Daily Beast column.
Who better to analyse the president’s slick yet wholesome message?
And now I know why the entire “controversy” has been making me snicker. While liberals and conservatives were trading cliches about the president’s anodyne advice, my inner 12-year-old just wanted to cut school.
Because Obama’s speech to the kiddies is “borrowed from” William Bennett’s infamous work, The Book of Virtues, a “treasury of great moral stories” for social conservatives. Siegel was outraged, but I’m impressed when my president does stuff like this.
Imagine Obama warning the bankers and the businessmen that they could only be bailed out if they fulfilled their responsibilities. But he didn’t hesitate to tell that to the kids.
Okay, fine, but can we also get real? The grown-ups have always behaved one way around kids and another way around bankers (i.e. other grown-ups.) Most parents talk to their kids not quite the same way they talk to a loan officer, broker, attorney, used car salesman… any adult they have to do business with.
The good middle class parent (personified by Obama) tells the children about responsible living and tries to discourage greed, sloth and lying. All competent parents know that their own generation is guilty of these things, but the idea is a sound one: if you believe these aren’t ‘the done thing,’ you will keep your most dangerous impulses under control. (It’s how we learn to avoid red meat or pizza most days while having the occasional flesh/carbohydrate feast.)
Parents (personified by Obama) are supposed to hold children to a higher moral and behavioural standard than they hold other people. (Higher standards can be annoying, but they harm nobody.)
I know all this because I was once a child (and so was Lee Siegel) but I was also … a BABYSITTER. (Was Lee Siegel ever??) As a barely nubile babysitter, I was like middle management – and the parents I worked for were the board of directors. We babysitters were the foremen on the factory floor of childhood.
As a babysitter, your theoretical role is to uphold official values – but if you’re under a certain age (as I was) you are still a kid, so you want to critique and thumb your nose at these values. (If your charges fall asleep early enough, all this is moot. You can do whatever.)
Basically, Obama’s well-behaved speech was about one obvious (to babysitters) fact of life.
Childhood is a time for obeying the rules other people – most notably bankers, and even a few babysitters – don’t have to follow.
While this is deeply unfair, I don’t think it’s William Bennett’s fault. Parents of almost every political persuasion uphold this system and Obama, have you noticed, is a member of the parent class.
Whatever Judge Sonia Sotomayor may have meant, a wise New York woman of Puerto Rican ancestry has a profoundly different view of the world than a Latina farm laborer in Southern California or an upper-income Chilean-American professional in Florida. Even more problematic are periodic jeremiads declaring the demographic demise of the so-called non-Hispanic white population. “The massive Hispanic immigration after 1965,” Samuel Huntington wrote in his sadly misinformed book, Who Are We?, “could make America increasingly bifurcated in terms of language (English and Spanish) and culture (Anglo and Hispanic).”
The bogus demographic invention “non-Hispanic whites” is partly the source of such groundless alarums.
Quite frankly, Huntington just sounds like an oaf. His freak-out over the presence of another language is embarrassing. What is the point of studying Latin anyway? I thought it was partly to make Romance languages (Spanish, for example?) more accessible. Languages: the more the merrier.
As I empty out the plastic container next to my desk, there will be more of these Prevention Posts. posted by Tracy Quan
Monday, August 17, 2009 Well-behaved 15-year-olds rarely make history
I'm posting this video of Joan Walsh on Hardball for a friend who follows American politics from overseas. (I find all this talk of 'government takeover' precious! I'm as leery of authoritarian governments as the next person, but what do these people actually mean when they invoke the G-word? I'd like to know more about what else they believe/support/don't support when it comes to government intrusion.)
Wednesday, July 29, 2009 Margaret Sanger must be spinning in her grave
If you thought the New York Times was joking when they hyped an academic paper that champions the so-called “pullout method” as the next big thing in contraception, you weren’t alone. How did the Guttmacher Institute get their name mixed up with this?
Pour les "civils," je fais un métier de feignasse.
Pourtant, c'est un boulot: sans cesse jouer du pipeau à la terre entière, sa famille, ses collègues. Sans parler de mon mari, qui ne se doute de rien! Pour mes clients, je suis Suzy, une BCBG suffisamment chaude et canon pour gagner sa vie de ses charmes. Le jour où mon client préféré m'invite dans le midi de la France, je me doute bien que ça va être tout sauf des vacances. Mais j'ignore encore que sa résidence est située dans la ville où la relique de Marie-Madeleine, notre sainte patronne, est menacée par des intégristes.
Et mon client ne m'a pas avertie que son cuistot est un sacré beau gosse. A quoi ils coupent l'air de la Provence, pour qu'une pro comme moi craque pour un gay?
I am what historian Richard W. Bulliet calls post-domestic. Unless you are a hill farmer, or a herder (in which case you are an anachronism, which won't come as a surprise since making a living in either of those ways is very difficult) so are you.
Jenny Diski. I love her work. I've read a number of her essays, none of her books (yet) - but what I've read is always enjoyable.
And you can listen live this evening to the Alan Colmes Friday night free-for-all (as he calls it) from 11pm-1am Eastern USA time. My co-panelists will be John Derbyshire and Vinnie Brand. posted by Tracy Quan
Thursday, April 30, 2009 One Flu Under the Cuckoo's Nest: The Pancetta Pandemic? (Updated May 2 & May 17)
I'm keeping track of useful facts and links re the so-called swine flu. Watch this space!
Now that we have a secretary of health... finally! ... you may wish to consult this page hosted by the Department of Health & Human Services.
Dr Ann Robinson says 36,000 people in the US die from the flu each year. So let's keep this in perspective. She has posted a practical FAQ here. It will help those of us who have a tendency toward narcissistic hypochondria to hear a working doctor's point of view.
One question missing from Dr Ann's FAQ! "I had pancetta the other night - do I need to suppress my fondness for carbonara while this thing is ongoing?"
MORE THOUGHTS (May 2) - If you happen to be living in a country where influenza statistics are being collected, some common sense precautions will PROBABLY protect you from this year's flu. Even though Michael Chertoff seems to think H1N1 is a "national crisis" for the Homeland.
OKAY - (May 2, later) Unfair to single out Chertoff. There is, on the other side of things, Joe Biden who seems to think a classroom's environment is the same as that of a closed airplane... Odd.
Over at the Corner, Ramesh Ponnuru seems to be taking potshots at online escorts and men who pay for sex. Gentle potshots, but still... Can the right wing afford to alienate people who buy and sell sex? In my experience, it's rarely wise to trash your old friends!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 This Week: Scapegoating Craigslist
In 19th-century London, a serial killer preyed on women who used the local streets and pubs to meet their customers. Those killings are now, unfortunately, treated as entertaining legend, while new myths about sex work, violence and technology flourish; we’ve gone from "Jack the Ripper" to the so-called "Craigslist Killer."
I am especially disgusted with those using Julissa Brisman's death as an opportunity to harass Craigslist, and talked about it last night on WPHT 1210 AM in Philly. (Will have an MP3 up soon.) UPDATE on May 1:Here's the MP3.
Sunday, April 26, 2009 Weekend Reading: Other People's MoJo
Nomi Prins is the sexiest banker I've ever met - and I know quite a few! She is, in fact, an EX-banker, and one who left the business simply because she felt like it, having proven her mettle. (There is also this rumor about a Portfolio Dating patent which she has neither confirmed nor denied.)
At the Daily Beast, I was pleased to see Larry Kramer taking on the gender studies mafia. The various queer/gender theories, he says, are "relatively useless" for those studying gay history, resulting in lectures and courses that reflect "as much about real history as a comic book." This is a little unfair to comic books, but a refreshing viewpoint. Even if some of my best friends do gender studies!
Wednesday, April 08, 2009 The little blog that should
Recently, a fellow author told me that being mentioned on this blog 'doesn't count' because I haven't adopted the bells and whistles other bloggers take for granted.
Permalinks and such!
I could have been offended, but was instead flattered. I'm glad my humble patch of the blogosphere is different.
For example, there's no obvious way to link to this post.
Because? When I started this blog (July 2001), I became deeply attached to the template. I may be a floozy in other matters, but when it comes to software I am perversely faithful.
I wrote my first book in WordPerfect Five-One. I still use WordPerfect, by the way, and it (WP10 by now) converts easily to MSWord. Quite a few people began using Word because of peer pressure. The prevalance of Word shows you how anything, even glue-sniffing, can become the norm.
...and you know who you are because you go all wistful at the mere mention of WordPerfect.
I never ask other people to adapt to my software, I consider it a joyful challenge to fake my conversion. It makes me a better and wiser computer user. In other words, I have a copy of Open Office.
It is not enough to proclaim yourself an outsider, you must walk the talk. And every time I go through the ritual of converting my documents to Word or Excel, I am reminded of what it's like to live as an outsider, perhaps even a secret outsider. Not that I should need reminding. I am already an outsider in many respects, but since I can pass for integrated, I want to be reminded.
Does this have something to do with my upbringing? Well, my father is a computer programmer and he's very supportive of my stubborn ways. The more obscure a taste or idea, the more he supports me, especially concerning software.
So I don't feel a need for all the latest upgrades - unless I actually have a use for them. I acquired broadband reluctantly, and was still using dial-up in 2008.
As for my blog - I like it when TracyQuan.net gets traffic, but the blog itself I always thought of as a cozy corner on the site. Because I've seen no others which employ this quaint template, I've decided I must retain it - no matter how questionable its value or charm. It also gives me insights into architecture and town planning, as I think about how accessible yet disconnected one can be.
Stay tuned! posted by Tracy Quan
Friday, April 03, 2009 The body politic, Popeye, and magical nutrition
I was criticized on this guy's blog for confusing Popeye's forearms with his biceps. Ha. Well, as it happens, some Guardian readers Have Not Been Paying Attention.
Anybody who HAS will recall that Popeye's biceps swell up immediately when he ingests some spinach. Clearly, these magical powers aren't lost on Michelle Obama. Her version of baking cookies is so responsible-sounding. I'm pleased we've gone from squabbling about whether Cindy McCain's cookie recipe is "original" (who would care?) to discussing the benefits of fresh green veggies.
Shag-enfreude or "Is conjugal duty the new Rabbit?"
At a time when others are promoting Tantric sex, rabbity vibrators, and other politically correct delights, along comes Bettina Arndt with a message that sounds almost Victorian. And yet, Bettina's advice is not as outrageous as it may sound.
Inserting the word “cool” into her patter at every opportunity, the woman responsible for Juno proved herself the most gung-ho overgrown teenager on the block. Aw-shucks likeability aside, it was rather satisfying to hear one slightly disgruntled audience member complain that Juno, although marketed as an “indie” film, was marred by rather stock Hollywood conventions. Perpetually cheery, Cody acknowledged the thrust of the question and merely pleaded guilty to commercial instincts and professed affection for happy endings. As hard as one tries, it’s difficult to dislike Diablo Cody.
I have to admit, having enjoyed Juno, it was hard to dislike that happy ending. And isn't a miserable ending just another storytelling convention?
Anyway! Love the quirky smart offerings on the Cineaste website! But they don't give it all away. You have to subscribe if you want the full treatment, and you should. posted by Tracy Quan
Monday, March 02, 2009 Austerity chic - or should that be cheek?
In New York it's again hip to be poor – or at least appear to be. But the recession may also preserve what makes the city great.
A dozen years ago, the Library of Congress created a stir when it dropped The Birth of a Nation from a wide-ranging series of movies marking cinema’s centenary. The only thing worse than showing Griffith’s movie is to pretend it never existed.
He goes on to explain - for me, it was gripping stuff - that DW Griffith's notorious film
has never ceased to be relevant and was never more so than during the long 2008 presidential election, not just because the only African American in the US Senate (and one of only four since Reconstruction) was running for president; but also because the election itself was so relentlessly personalised.
Childhood memory: I dimly remember being taken to see Birth of a Nation. During Reconstruction or so, a friend's dad explained, 'This particular scene is all fabricated.' I remember v. few details, but it was enough for the following to make sense:
Griffith taught the movies to take history personally, to interject close-ups, dramatic re-creations and factoids to aid a particular plot line – and the movies taught the world the excitement of visualised drama. In last year’s election, every candidate had his or her story; each campaign was required to project a narrative and would be criticised by media pundits if it failed to do so.
Ushers in some movie theatres wore Klan sheets or Confederate uniforms. Meanwhile, as the Klan spread far beyond the South, establishing itself throughout New England, the Atlantic seaboard and the Midwest, The Birth of a Nation was used as a recruitment film as far north as Portland, Oregon.
Portland freaking Oregon! I have to admit that made me gasp out loud.
Actually, I think America's more 'cowardly' about class than race - but that's a story for another day. And the recession might change all that.