5 Quick Things: November 2019

Welcome to 5 Quick Things that I saw since last month that I thought were interesting enough to share with you. None of them are particularly timely so feel free to just enjoy 🙂

>Number One<

Beauty and the Books

If you love weird pictures, strange art, history, and books 50 Watts is an absolute gold mine for you. Collecting images from books and papers around the world it’s an archive of the wonderful weird world of visual art. There’s very little in the way of true navigation aside from a small handful of tags but that makes the experience feel all the more surreal. As if you’re a discovery in a strange new land.

>Number Two<

Opulence, Glam, and Drag

ContraPoints has recently put a piece out about opulence and while I’m not exactly a fan of that video, I found this piece about glamour (in drag and in culture) from 15 years ago a little more to my liking. Probably due to the nature of the passage of time this piece still felt generally out of sync with me but I also really enjoyed reading it and it’s given me quite a lot to think about. I have a very stormy history with drag, glamour, and opulence myself so reading pieces from diverse and thoughtful angles helps me to flesh out some of my ideas around them. I’d love to see an updated version of this piece as drag has only become more codified and re-coded into the capitalistic culture over the year and changed into an entirely different beast since 2004.

>Number Three<

We Live in a Society (Terrifying Men and the stories they tell about themselves)

Sometimes I think we’re almost of the woods talking about the book and movie American Psycho but I supposed with movies like Nightcrawler, or you know, the current president of the United States, we might never be done with this movie. Joker is the latest in a string of movies about terrifying men who get to their own stories about themselves and both be the bad guy and the hero at the same time. Where the audience comes out of a movie and sees a reflection of themselves but not in any way that makes them question themselves (for the most part). Anyway this piece gets to the heart of a few ideas I was kicking around after this latest crop of disconnected degenerate killer movies. (Just to be clear while these movies all have some inter-connective tissue American Psycho is more like The Game than Taxi Driver because the main character is wealthy and the lens we see things through is upper class but all the movies present characters with similar traits and makes me think of each other).

>Number Four<

Beards as a Visual Medium

Sometimes you see something and it just makes your day a little better. That’s this instagram for me. Men who theme their beards and take pictures together. They live in Portland (of course) and they’re gay and they have lovely beards. Really, what more could you want?

>Number Five<

Performative Acting and Social Media

I read this article a few time before I decided to include it here. Written nearly five years ago it is a little funny how the article isn’t wrong now but “this but more.” Humans are performers and actors and we’re also, despite ourselves, constantly changing and it’s not that social media has made these changes more or less but that expressing them is difficult because that’s not the type of “content” that people signed up for. I see this a lot in fandom when someone starts as a person in fandom A but over time moves to add fandom B also or adds fandom B and C but drops A and people became frustrated that the “content” of this person has changed. Never mind in real life we’re constantly changing and friends and ideas and hobbies come and go, online we’re given less of a space to do this. As the article says “Facebook give[s] the impression that these different, contestable and often contradictory identities (and their different contexts) can be conveniently flattened out” as if people are one singular thing and deviation from this thing will result in punishment (even if in the case of social media that punishment is less likes, less views, or intangible silence).

As a person who isn’t interesting in “unplugging” from social media in any meaningful way as the internet and some level of constant contact with it has been a part of my entire life pieces like this help me put in perspective some of the issues I encounter and why social media becomes so toxic for others.

Anyway, that’s all for now, see you next month!

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