…a gulf had opened between them over which they looked at each other with eyes that were on either side a declaration of the deception suffered. It was a strange opposition, of the like of which she had never dreamed–an opposition in which the vital principle of the one was a thing of contempt to the other. It was not her fault–she had practised no deception; she had only admired and believed. She had taken all the first steps in the purest confidence, and then she had suddenly found the infinite vista of a multiplied life to be a dark, narrow alley with a dead wall at the end. Instead of leading to the high places of happiness, from which the world would seem to lie below one, so that one could look down with a sense of exaltation and advantage, and judge and choose and pity, it led rather downward and earthward, into realms of restriction and depression where the sound of other lives, easier and freer, was heard as from above, and where it served to deepen the feeling of failure.

–Henry James, Portrait of a Lady

An Aspiring Writer

If at thirteen you can write ten good lines, at twenty you’ll write ten times ten–if the gods are kind. Stop messing over months, though–and don’t imagine you’re a genius either, if you have written ten decent lines. I think there’s something trying to speak through you–but you’ll have to make yourself a fit instrument for it. You’ve got to work hard and sacrifice–by gad, girl, you’ve chosen a jealous goddess. And she never lets her votaries go–even when she shuts her ears for ever to their plea.

–Lucy Maud Montgomery, Emily of New Moon

BD 108 memories

Braindead 1×08: “The Path to War Part One: The Gathering Political Storm”


Previously on Braindead: Head explosions, bioterrorist fears, political arguments, thrown pencils… you know, the usual. We end with a satirical spacebug commercial framed as a drug ad, complete with the sexual and anti-alcohol side effects. Oh, and Laurel’s dad, Dean Healy? is TOTALLY infected.

As has been happening frequently in the last few episodes, we open right on the last moment of the previous episode, with Luke welcoming Laurel back to the real world after her little brush with torture over at the FBI. In the waiting room outside Luke’s office Gustav’s phone, which can detect high-frequency transmissions from spacebugs, goes wild. He and Rochelle try to sneak up closer to Dean, and Scarlett says snottily, “You’re gonna need to find a way to silence that.” Seriously. For one thing, I think even people with half their brains missing are going to catch on to your little app if you don’t silence it.

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Links We Loved This Week — 8/19/16

Heather Havrilesky, who writes the fabulous “Ask Polly” columns at NYMag, interviews Winona Ryder and discusses the pathologization of female emotion.

Even if the phrase “fag hag” is so 1999, you won’t care while you’re reading this absurdist ranking of the Top 10 Fag Hags of Henry James. (via LA Review of Books)

As, it seems, always, McSweeney’s lit crit is killing it: Quiz: Are you an unlikable female narrator?

Idiocracy director tells The Daily Beast why his movie has become a documentary.

Freud has a field day as the “subtle” metaphors of the James Bond credits are revealed (via Slashfilm).


“It seems to me that almost all our sadnesses are moments of tension, which we feel as paralysis because we no longer hear our astonished emotions living. Because we are alone with the unfamiliar presence that has entered us; because everything we trust and are used to is for a moment taken away from us; because we stand in the midst of a transition where we cannot remain standing. That is why the sadness passes: the new presence inside us, the presence that has been added, has entered our heart, has gone into its innermost chamber and is no longer even there, is already in our bloodstream. And we don’t know what it was. We could easily be made to believe that nothing happened, and yet we have changed, as a house that a guest has entered changes.

We can’t say who has come, perhaps we will never know, but many signs indicate that the future enters us in this way in order to be transformed in us, long before it happens.

And that is why it is so important to be solitary and attentive when one is sad: because the seemingly uneventful and motionless moment when our future steps into us is so much closer to life than that other loud and accidental point of time when it happens to us as if from outside.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Learning in the mango trees

I found a mango tree by the school. I climbed it and from a comfortable position in the branches, I could hear the lessons and see the blackboard. The teacher saw me and he began to open the classroom window completely so that I could properly see…

I did that for an entire month, reciting everything that I heard, over and over, and practicing writing the alphabet on the ground. One morning, the teacher was waiting for me under the mango tree, and he held my hand, and he took me into the classroom. Those were the days, indeed, when we had decent people in a decent environment and they could do such things.

–Ishmael Beah, Radiance of Tomorrow


UnREAL 2×02 “Insurgent”: Who Wins the Battle of Oppressions This Week?

A friend of mine was on the New York City subway late at night, and a man came up to her, got right in her face, and said, “You’re one of those white girls with an ass and titties. They wouldn’t even want to sell you, but I would want to buy you.”

Then, he turned to two young black women sitting nearby, and said, “They would sell you. But I wouldn’t buy you.”

This was an incredibly scary experience for my friend, but I’ll give this guy credit for one thing: it was one of the most succinct explanations for intersectional oppression I’ve ever heard.

And it perfectly explicates the themes of UnREAL, which has taken it upon itself to explore the connections/oppositions between white supremacy and the Men’s Rights Movement, between white feminism and the Black Lives Matter movement. I feel like if a drunk guy from the New York City subway wandered onto the set of Everlasting, this is what he would say to the contestants.
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