And not falling down

Walking my bike through the fine sand to meet friends on the beach, Tuesday night, in an interlude of heat between storms, I found my eyes lingering on the beautiful bodies of the men and the women and everyone else around me. It made me think about one of the early entries I posted to this blog, nineteen years ago: a little scanned photo of two famous musicians, and a “joke” about having a crush on each of them. (It was also the post where I announced that I had successfully added permalinks to my homebrew software. Most of those very first entries are among the ones I have since set to private.)

I had been making those kinds of jokes since I was a teenager, attempting to forestall criticism and mockery of my own uncertain masculinity by beating my peers to the punch. As with so many things in my youth, I did not pause to consider that in my self-protective spin moves I was just enacting another form of homophobia, or what effect that might have on other people around me.

But I’m not a youth anymore. I know a little more in general than I did then, and a lot more about myself. So I thought about that old reflex, and how many gentle people have helped me move away from it, and I thought about the sweat and skin and bodies of the people at the beach, and I thought: I can call this feeling what it is, without justification or apology. The name of the feeling is attraction. I’m a forty-one-year-old man, and I’m attracted to some women, and some men, and certainly some other people too.

Here I am, a different person than I was nineteen years ago, and the same person I have always been. Happy June.

“Contrary to those who dismiss my work as a critic as negative or destructive, criticism is generative; it can be one of many (small) acts of hope — criticism grounded in historical analysis is the antithesis of a numbing forgetfulness or an invented nostalgia.”

“A lot of (now-forgotten) mainstream plays and novels were as experimental in shifting point-of-view and juggling time frames as any we find today. For example, we celebrate backwards stories as typical of the demands of modern storytelling. The play and film Betrayal and the films Memento and Shimmer Lake are among many recent media products presenting the scenes in 3-2-1 order. But this possibility was discussed by a prominent critic in 1914, and soon a major woman actor wrote a play that used reverse chronology.

Some will argue that innovations of popular narrative are dumbed-down borrowings from modernist or avant-garde trends. I try to show this process as a two-way dynamic: modernism borrowing from popular forms, mainstream storytellers making modernist techniques more accessible. But we also find that popular storytelling has its own intrinsic sources of innovation, as with the reverse-chronology tale.”

No S, no T, one J, two Cs

Hi! This morning I filed the first in a long series of forms which will induce the United States government and various international institutions to recognize that my last name is not Adkins anymore; it is Jercich.

“This is not about appropriation: this is about the problems of setting in fiction that trouble us all because we live in the same empired-haunted world, ruined by colony and postcolony alike, this tainted, unstable ground. There is no true and authentic fixed thing, and no one can, or should wish to, lay claim to it. Imagine the horror, if there were such a thing that you could hold in your hands, that you could never put down or toss away, how it would burn and cut.”

Some websites that exist

I think about this tweet a lot, even though I don’t actually read twitter anymore. It has achieved what I believe user @BAKKOOONN has called “barium dye” status, inescapable in any segment of the internet’s digestive tract—in part because it so succinctly captures the ache inherent in our cultural surrender to platforms that do not care for us. This paragraph should make it clear that I myself do not find it easy to escape the reach of those platforms. But it has never been easier to carve out your own platform, either.

For that reason I would like to point out some labors of love that have been updated in 2022. I link to my favorites all the time: Leonard and Sumana and Lucy and Rachel are indefatigable. I will enthuse at anyone about longtime stalwarts Derek Guy and Tom Murphy and Audrey Watters and their respective fields of expertise if given the slightest opportunity, and I hope Molly White never runs out of dry schadenfreude, even if her current beat (I hope) fades from the headlines. Jenny is a great and terribly clever friend whose archives I still have to go back and savor. Adam Cadre seems never to have flagged on updates for the last two decades. David Bordwell has been giving away just masterful levels of accessible, expansive teaching on film for even longer than that!

Blogspot, never my favorite platform, has begun to acquire a certain old-timey charm to me, via its placid refusal to become a redesigned algorithmic nightmare (for now!). I’ve been following Peter Gainsford for years, interested in his Classical-era mythbusting even when I am far from understanding its academic context. Kerry Callen has a unique style and sense of humor that recalls the days when lots more comics artists kept delightful sketchblogs. I wish I could remember how I stumbled across Dan of the Salty Throne; not only does reading his posts feel like stepping into an idea stream just as the flash flood barrels down upon you, but his blogroll also helped me realize where all the RPG hobby writers went when Google Plus died. I put five more URLs into my RSS reader yesterday, and I look forward to following them toward more.

There are sites still marching onward that are almost suspiciously me-shaped, too, perhaps because I was shaped by them. If you ever want to learn how to undertake the arcane rituals of BlogNomic, let me know, I’m currently an active mentor. Cyberdelia seems like I made it up for my own amusement (but I didn’t!). And just today, I made a tiny update to my ancient tilde.club page, and I’m not even the only one!

I thought about including my Patreon subscriptions, and some of my favorite podcasts, and my favorite email newsletters—okay, well, I am going to link to Sophie’s newsletter because Sophie is wonderful and her latest letter arrived in my inbox as I was writing this. But I think I will save those for other entries. I just want to remind myself that Cliff Jerrison and despair can be disproven. Not all love’s labors are lost.

“For some years I’ve been arguing that the martial arts cinema of East Asia constitutes as distinctive a contribution to film artistry as did more widely recognized ‘schools and movements’ of European cinema like Soviet Montage and Italian Neorealism.”