Of making many books there is no end

finding love in a hopeless place / it’s the way I’m feelin I just can’t deny [photos from 2008]

“No no no no no fucking no. Can we please not tell victims of assault and abuse what they should and should not do, and what they’re doing wrong?
Chris Brown is a horrible person who ought to never get another moment of media coverage in his life (among other things.) Talk all the shit you want about him.
But Rihanna? Her interactions with Brown and the music she’s decided to make are her damn decisions. (Well, I hope they are, at least.) You’re not her grandma. And even if you were – it was her relationship, she’s the one who suffered the abuse. Let her figure out how to best deal with it.”

“Um, I found this piece really misguided. Should we really be interrogating Rihanna about this situation? Sure, we can speculate about her relationship with Chris Brown, her reasons for collaborating with him once more; we can talk about how bad the singles are; we can shake our heads over her “self-destructive” behavior. But honestly it just looks like she’s another woman who has found herself caught up in the cycle of abuse, and right now heaping further criticism on her is not going to do ANYTHING”

“Rihanna is neither the poster girl for domestic abuse nor someone who owes you an explanation about anything in her private life. This is her situation to deal with as she wishes and it doesn’t have to follow your script or look like you want it to. I find the whole pile-on judgement about her decisions lately to be really infantilizing and victim-blaming.”

laurnadoone

I agree whole-heartedly that Rihanna, as a person, should not have to explain anything. She was the victim to a horrible crime, and Chris Brown is vile, to say the least. However, as a public figure, I wish she would have considered the impact of this decision. The only reason I say this is because I work with teenage girls in a very high-risk community, and many of these girls look up to her as a role model. Many of the girls I work with are or have been involved in abusive relationships. They look to their celebrity role models as they would any other adult in their life that they admire. I’ve heard concern from them over this issue, and it scares me how they relate it back to their own situations. I just wish at the very least that Rihanna would have released some sort of statement to her young fans with the release of these singles. The whole thing makes me sick; we shouldn’t ever place blame on Rihanna, but she is in the spotlight and her actions will be carefully observed by the youth who admire her.

 

@laurnadoone I get where you’re coming from, I really do. It would be ideal for her safety and everything if she got away from Chris Brown and renounced him or whatever. But I guess part of what gets me so worked up about this, is I want to be like, don’t you SEE? It’s not that simple! These are real abuse dynamics happening in real time. Talk honestly about those. Talk honestly about why it isn’t rare or unthinkable that things are playing out this way, that it’s not her fault. Rihanna doesn’t have to be a role model in this situation precisely BECAUSE this is a real life, very common dynamic. And if these girls you’re working with have experienced abuse, I can’t imagine it’s more helpful to give it to them black and white–i.e. leave or stay, look at Rihanna, she left! This is how this stuff really happens. This is how it really works. It’s so much more difficult and confusing than people want to believe.”

“Other people have articulated my arguments more clearly above me but this is the first time I’ve really been mad at a hairpin piece. I know that this is a complicated issue that inspires crazy amounts of emotions on all sides and as a white dude I probably have no business even speaking up about it because of the privileges inherent therein. THAT BEING SAID – every piece that ive seen in the last week that is ‘disappointed’ in Rihanna or questions ER decisions or her agency w/r/t her management stinks of so much victim blaming that is still so present in our culture. Chris Brown is a horrible human being and I hate the music industry for letting him have even a semblance of a career after he nearly killed his girlfriend and then acted smug and triumphant about each and every success after that point. But no one writing these pieces is close to Rihanna, no one is inside her head, and no one gets to dictate how she “should” deal with her abuse except Rihanna herself.”

“I think a lot of people have said it above, but I am super disappointed about the victim-blaming going down in this, as well as in the comments. Everyone is allowed to hope someone who’s abused stays out of danger, but–and this goes for a celeb you don’t know or your bestie–no one gets to dictate how they live their life after the abuse. Not to mention, let the woman have some agency of her own that allows her to exist outside of being either a victim or an idiot. Fuck. This is actually making me really mad?”

“I am so, so, so disappointed and upset that the Hairpin would post this piece of victim-blaming horseshit. I am so disappointed and upset that the comments reflect a similar sense of entitlement to Rihanna’s choices about how to deal with her experiences of violence. It is absolutely not Rihanna’s job to make anyone feel comfortable about how she deals with her abuse. It is of no consequence how gross anyone feels about Rihanna’s choices about who to collaborate with EXCEPT RIHANNA. That the Hairpin would add to the chorus of voices painting Rihanna as childish, immature, stupid, naive, passive, or otherwise unaware of the consequences and implications of her actions is sickening to me. Rihanna is not the morally reprehensible individual in this situation. Chris Brown is. No one gets to ask “Why, Rihanna?” except Rihanna. I don’t explicitly deploy shame lightly, but, fuck: this author ought to be ashamed of this piece.”

———

cf: 1. this

2. this — note language in third paragraph

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Filed under: at arm's length,

on seeing Alex & Bill for the first time in a long time

We were telling stories about memories! we didn’t get tired of it although we had to keep acting like it was something nobody wanted to do. “Not to just talk about memories but… ” “Sorry to keep talking about the past but…”

BIG MEMORY:

i think i am slightly depressed in Summer 2006, which is weird because I actually remember this summer as being one of the best summers ever. but i do think there was an undercurrent of unhappiness about feeling stifled, in my artwork, in my relationship, in my bubble town, impatient anticipation about moving to Los Angeles. and it felt like no matter what I did I couldn’t break it. so I came up with a silly idea to just make something happen that I didn’t have to do myself. that I could in fact relinquish control over altogether.

Thus “TAKE ME”

It was a small form I gave to acquaintances around town who I said Hi to and liked but didn’t know very well. They had to fill it out:

I will take Jaymee Martin somewhere of my choosing on _________ at ________ am/pm

She will meet me at __________.

Then they had to take me to their place of choice without telling me where we were going.

Only two people ended up completing this project with my ass. THE FIRST ONE WAS BILL.

BILL’S “TAKE ME”

Bill = a character, not sure what else to say, he loosely studied at the local Cal State, he started the “Esperanto and Cryptozoology Club” and at one meeting dumped a large bucket of water on an unsuspecting attendee, he made home movies with names like “ISLAND OF GARBAGE” that featured actors (friends) tweaking on dinosaur eggs, and that summer he worked at “Steinbeck’s The Spirit of Monterey Wax Museum” on Cannery Row.

The day of his “TAKE ME” he and Alex had snuck into Monterey Beer Fest by wearing aprons they borrowed from the local cafĂ©, jumping a fence, and acting like they worked at it. In the early afternoon my/Ernie’s front door SWUNG OPEN and Bill COLLAPSED loudly straight onto our living room floor. He started writhing like “I’MA take youuuuu!!!” and I was like “how did you GET HERE.” And he was like “…I drOOOVE!” and i was like “Oh. No.”

And he said “i have to go to work at the Wax Museum but after that, I’muna Take You!” and left.

And so I waited until nightfall and he showed up again, happily sober and drinking a soda called “Dr. Bold.”

I had no idea what was coming and maybe I should’ve had more suspicions. I utterly did not anticipate having to do anything too uncomfortable. I mean… sure I was giving complete trust in Bill over my physical whereabouts, personal safety, course of the evening, creative authorship (in a way), etc. but that just made me think that he would see all that and heed it. I think he DID see all that, and recognized his ability to push those things to their extremes. He was essentially calling my bluff, because wasn’t that exactly what the piece was supposed to be about, why didn’t you realize that before.

We made one stop where he wanted to sneak into the pool at one of the sleaziest motels on North Fremont. But I refused. What a dumb idea Jaymee. You had no clue what was coming.

We sped through Seaside and he kept warning me for what was coming next. I was still totally incredulous, giggling, saying “yeah righttt” or something like that. He was eating a candy called “PICO BALLA” and we referred to this quite a bit.

Let me just go faster here.

We got to the Water Tower in Marina.

He said to me, We are going to climb up that water tower.

Hahaha (giggle giggle) yeah right etc!

We walk as close to it as we can. It’s enclosed in a chain link barbed wire fence.

He tries to get into the fence… by stampeding against the chain link locked entrance, by shaking his entire body weight on it while grabbing it like Spiderman, by testing the possibility of going OVER the barbed wire (this did not work, surprisingly), until he decided that we had to go Prison Break style and dig a tunnel underneath the fence.

Is Prison Break a show? I don’t mean the show. I mean like an Actual Prison Break.

He starts digging and digging with his hands in the dirt like dog paws. He is panting too. He is muttering things about Taking Me and the Water Tower. “Hahaha (giggle giggle) yeah right etc!” I say. I am an idiot

I don’t know how long this takes. I remember thinking he would just give up. I was pacing and wandering and I don’t know how long all this was taking.

Finally he’s like “I’M DONE

“YOU GO FIRST. GO UNDER THE FENCE. TRY IT!”

He’s holding the fence and I’m like “ok” and I throw my entire body face first into the tiny opening between the chain link and the dirt. Chain link catches on my skin and scratches deeply into my hip just above my jeans.

I come up like a diver. And it is at this moment that I realize that I am on the INSIDE of the fence. It is at this moment when I stand up and realize that I am INSIDE THE FENCE that it hits me that I really have to go up this water tower.

I mean….. i COULD have not done it. technically I suppose. I could’ve said Fuck this, you are crazy, we could both die. It’s really, really tall. I don’t know anything about height measurements but it must be at least 100 feet*. I look up at the top.

but i am such a Romantic Loser (aka “Artist”). I kept telling myself that I HAD TO DO IT, FOR ART. THIS WAS ART. THIS WAS NOT “LIFE” WHERE YOU COULD DIE IF YOU FELL OFF A WATER TOWER AND IT WOULD BE STUPID. THIS WAS ART, WHERE IF YOU DIED, YOU DIED FOR ART!

Bill gets through the tunnel. We are both on the other side.

We barrel towards the “ladder,” or, extremely decrepit iron thing with rungs that is half enclosed in a playground-esque cage which I think you’re supposed to connect a harness to so you don’t die if you fall.

He tells me to go first. Afterwards he says it’s because of something like if he went first, I would’ve realized how incredibly dangerous what we were doing was, because I would be watching as well as doing. I keep telling myself “one rung. one rung. one rung,” one rung at a time until there are no more left, until I am at the top. BUT THEN WHAT? Then I am at the top of this water tower and I still could fall off and die. These water towers have no safety precautions because they don’t anticipate anyone being reckless enough to actually climb them without bringing their own safety precautions. Hence the fucking barbed wire chain link fence.

One rung one rung one rung

I am so scared

Swallowing my fear because if i get too afraid I might slip and if I slip, that is it,

everything changes.

This is for art

This is for art

swallow that

one rung one rung one rung keep going

“you’re almost there!” he kept saying

(i don’t think it was actually true but that’s okay)

You’re almost there,

suddenly you pause and hold on and the wind is howling and rushing all around the edges of your body as you cling. You are in the air.

You keep thinking that once you get to the top, everything will be okay.

Then you emerge at the top and you realize that it is actually just as scary. There is a thin red “bar” demarcating the edge of the “balcony,” and that bar is all that is separating you from oblivion. Your steps are shaky and uncertain and the wind continues to rush past you. You press your weight against the surface of the container, sliding yourself along. You tell Bill that you need a photo, because this is Art. You need documentation for some future possibility of meaning. You take the photo of blurry Marina lights in the distance.

And then you have to do the entire thing over again in reverse.

And your feet touch the ground and you are still alive and you can breathe the sigh of someone who survived.

And you throw yourself again under the chain link fence and drive away with Bill and he decides to take you to a party, where everyone it turns out is drinking Dr. Bold and not even alcohol (?) and Alex takes a photo of you looking like a terrified doe-animal with dirt all over your face and hands as you still shake. This photo depicts the absurd disjunction between the banal act of “partying” and someone who very nearly could’ve just fallen to her death.

SO BILL AND ALEX WERE HERE yesterday and the day before and it has been years. And I retold this story and showed them these photos. And reflected on how this was bar none the most dangerous and terrifying thing I have ever done.

And now i am writing about it because I am thinking about what it means to do the scariest thing you have ever done, FOR ART. and what it means when you realize you HAVE TO DO IT, for art. Because otherwise you wouldn’t do it at all and maybe it’s better to almost die sometimes for art. To do something completely reckless that can kill you, to confront the tiny bar separating you from oblivion, to relinquish the control that keeps you in summer banality and step up (one rung one rung) to the requirements of inhabiting Dr. Bold, because that has something to do with making art.

—————

*Wikipedia tells me that the standard water tower is 130 feet tall.

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Filed under: you have renounced