Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Hero Worship

Adolescence... so much more fun the second time around.

I spent most of my actual adolescence alternating between being awkward, out of place, and just plain bizarre in public, while hiding a private life where I was experiencing all the agony and the ecstasy of teenage love. It didn’t leave much time for ordinary things, like crushes on celebrities. Or hero worship.

And so, I record here my arrested development hero worship phase, currently manifesting in the form of:

* k.d. lang. Good god, how did I miss her awesomeness all these years? That voice is literally mesmerizing. I’ve listened to Hallelujah (Hymns of the 49th Parallel) like 100 times since buying the album a few days ago. And she’s not bad-looking either. (Which is bashful hero-worship-speak for: I’m bringing a picture of her to the hairdresser on Thursday. Just for some aspirational reference.)

* Judith Butler. I’m down with poststructuralism and cultural theory and all that, even though I slept-walked through Foucault in my first year theory seminar (too dangerous for my fragile denial then, to actually read what he was saying). But Gender Trouble is really in a class by itself, isn’t it? So amazingly brilliant. I’ve just checked her more recent book, Giving An Account of Oneself, out of the library. (I have more to say on Gender Trouble but as this is about hero worship I’ll save that, hopefully for tomorrow.)

* Anne Lister (1791-1840). Mistaken for a man—while wearing women’s clothing. Slept her way through Yorkshire, London, and Paris (with even the occasional deflowering) and wrote all about it in a four-million-word diary. T. and I visited her home, outside Halifax, over the weekend. It was so incredibly sexy to be there, where our history was tangible and visible. Even now people sometimes casually deny the existence of lesbian sex before some arbitrary recent date. Anne Lister proves them wrong, beautifully and sexily. (I found out about her in Judith Halberstam’s excellent discussion of her diaries in Female Masculinity. And boy was I excited to find out her home, Shibden Hall, is open to the public only a shortish train ride away.)

3 comments:

Dylan said...

Oh Judith Butler. I much prefer Halberstam, but that might be because I've studied Butler so much and written so many papers about her and her theory, while awesome to read, falls apart when you try to put it on the ground. A little too elitist for me, but overall, good times.

letsdance said...

What about "Love is Everything" on the same k.d.lang cd??? Great song! Love them both.....

Leo MacCool said...

love is everything is great, too. really i love the whole album like crazy. but i have a thing for putting my current favorite song on repeat for hours. (my poor neighbors.)

dylan... yes, halberstam was an absolute revelation, and much more usable in an immediate practical sense. but i'm not sure i agree about butler being elitist, except in the sense that you need some sophisticated education to read her and make sense of much of it. but i think that's an effect at least in part of her trying to get it right in the purest sense. well, i'll stop there, i have a giant post brewing about gender trouble, but if you can stand rehashing your old papers i'd love to hear more of your thoughts.