Monthly Archives: July 2012

Jay Reads ‘A Game of Thrones’: Day 1

And yet again we see the beginning of me attempting some sort of project. I have completely awful carry-through on things like this but I’m hoping a combination of my disgruntled pride, assiduous dog-earing, and public posting will keep me on track this time.

Before I begin, some background. I haven’t watched the HBO series – don’t know if I will ever bother. And I have a habit of contrariness that makes me react to bandwagons by – generally – running the other way. In the case of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, I had heard of it some before it became absolutely huge. Had picked up a book in a bookstore and glanced at it now and again. For whatever reason, the blurbs never convinced me to do more than that. Then, when it became big at the promise of the TV series (or whatever the impetus was), I read a few critical reviews that had some sharp things to say about various Serious Issues (i.e. sexism, race, etc.) and that combined with my contrariness cemented a resolve to not, in fact, become interested in this series.

That last a year or so, I guess. A good friend of mine ended up reading them, and is somewhat prone to drunken ramblings about the series which are actually interesting to listen to. Plus I was sort of seduced by the awesomeness that is Peter Dinklage and if I ever do watch the TV show, it will be because of him. So, having little else to do this summer, I’ve finally given in and bought the first four books. (It was a box-set that cost only $25 on Chapters-Indigo online. What can I say? Not a price to pass up!) And partially as a way to maintain my wounded pride and salve my dignity and partially as a mental exercise for the fun of it, I’ve decided to read these books – or the first one, at least – with pencil in hand.

That is, read it rather more critically and consciously – and slowly – than I usually read. My usual pace is a bit more on the ‘devour it whole in one sitting’ side. So. Change is good, yes? Plus, annotations are fun. So, with that in mind, I’ve divided the first book up into roughly 50 page segments, ending each on the nearest chapter-end. I was going to do a post after every chapter, but then I realized how short the chapters are. So without further ado… I present my reaction post to the first 48 pages of <i>A Game of Thrones</i>.

Obviously massive spoilers underneath, if you, like me, have yet to read these books. Also a bit on the long side. Hopefully future posts will be shorter. But I don’t hold my breath.

Read the rest of this entry

Feminism is Queer by Mimi Marinucci // Post 01

I spotted this book in a Tumblr post about some assorted queer / LGBTQ+ books, that had a photoset of different covers. The cover on this book does rather stand out – the title is written on “buttons” in the art.

And the title sounded (sounds) interesting/promising. So when, not even a few minutes ago, I spotted this book on the shelf at my university’s library, I had to pick it up. I’m going to take it home and read – but I think I’ll also annotate while writing (yay stickynotes!) and post at the end of each chapter/section on here. I sort of didn’t stick with my book review posts long, after all!

I’ve actually already read through the preface once, so there will be (hopefully) a second post once I’ve been home. But at the moment I have a few thoughts/reservations I’d like to share.

For one, it should be noted that I’m not a queer studies/gender studies student. Though I have often cast an interested glance at such courses, I have never actually taken one. I have quite literally learned all my feminism from the internet, from reading non-academic resources. I prefer my feminism as intersectional as possible, and ivory tower theory – while I certainly think it has its place (I am a history major, after all) – doesn’t really interest me. It isn’t accessible enough, for my liking, nor is it as responsive.

And my “queer theory”. I don’t do queer studies. I just don’t. I identify as queer, however, and have been navigating what that means, or can mean, for a few years now. Queer, for me, is something far more intimate and personal than just theory – and as with feminism, any exposure I’ve had to “theory” or “definition” comes from online or meatspace community. Personally, I am very leery OF Ivory Tower usage of “queer” as in queer theory. Queer, to me, begs an identification or solidarity with the under- or non-privileged and (White, anglophone) academia is sort of ridiculously privileged. They ARE the elite. And my experience with the elite, when it combines with sexual/gender identiy, is that it becomes White Cis Gay Men. (Or, at its worst, White Cis Straight Men talking about queer folk from an outside, through-the-microscope explain-those-weirdos perspective. Hopefully we have left that behind, though.)

Mimi isn’t that, which is good, in my books. Nothing against WCGM, of course – I’m sure they’re quite as capable of ‘objectivity’ such as may be reached as anyone else. But something about me feels very uncomfortable with the whole idea of ‘queer studies’ and I can’t really explain why. It’s a confusing mess, and I’m trying to sort out my feelings on it.

Such as why I’m currently hung up on figuring out if Marinucci herself identifies as queer. And if she is heterosexual or not. This seems really important, and I can’t figure out why – or, rather, the ramifications of the reasons why I feel that way. (See: wannabe historian.)

I was glad to see, though, towards the end of the preface, her acknowledgement of some degree of intersectionality and of privilege. That makes me a lot more comfortable, and hopeful, to read this book.