My doctors made it clear that there were two kinds of illness: those they could identify, and those that didn’t exist. My symptoms were simply shadow puppets cast by a mind that couldn’t control itself. I was confused. They were certain.

They were wrong.

Performance of a Lifetime 

I highly recommend this remarkable essay by Kate Horowitz on invisible, chronic illnesses and gender issues in medicine. 

“I don’t believe in men. I’ve never met a man in my life.”

Today, Guernica Magazine published a great, insightful and inciting interview with South Asian trans performance duo DarkMatter. For instance, this is how they expand upon the above statement that Alok never met a man:

Janani Balasubramanian: I think what Alok was saying with the idea of how we’ve never met a man in our lives, is that manhood is not just an ideal of gender; it also becomes a set of ideals around race, class, respectability, purchasing power, whatever. I’ve never met a single person in their lives who’s rich, has no feelings, goes to the gym every hour, drinks protein shakes all day. This person doesn’t exist.

Alok Vaid-Menon: They’re a fairy tale. What’s difficult is that gender has become only the domain of trans people and women. But we all have gender, and we all have a stake in ending gender.

In a conversation led by Guernica’s Kevin St. James, they discuss gender, performance, colonialism, capitalism, disappointing your parents and the importance of cracking jokes. It really is a must-read, whether you agree with their stances or not.

Kendrick at the Grammys

With this performance, he raised what it means to perform at the Grammy  to a completely new level. Wow.

He also won all of the rap categories. Album of the year, however, went to (the also very talented and wonderful) Taylor Swift. Oh, well. I might just be old, but I was interested in 1989 for as many plays as I needed to get into To Pimp A Butterfly.

Being “friends” on Facebook is more of a fantasy or imitation or shadow of friendship than the traditional real thing. Friendship on Facebook bears about the same relation to friendship in life, as being run over by a car in a cartoon resembles being run over by a car in life. Facebook is friendship minus the one on one conversation, minus the moment alone at a party in a corner with someone (note to ninth graders: chat and messages don’t count); Facebook is the chatter of a big party, the performance of public cleverness, the facades and fronts and personas carefully crafted, the one honed line, the esprit de l’escalier; in short, the edited version. Do you know anything at all about your Facebook friends? Do you, in spite of the “missssssssss you girlieeeee!!!!!” and the “I cantttttt believe you are going awayyyyyyyyyy,” care about all of them?

Crafting Fictional Personas With the Language of Facebook –

For a moment I thought that articles like this one swept the rug from under my academic feet, from my idea to work on facebook from a performance studies stance. But then Ms. Roiphe showed that she still follows a concept of a division between “the Internet” and “the Real World.” I have a maybe maive, but more positive view on these things. Yes, not all your facebook friends are close, “real” friends. And most of facebook is like chatter at a big party (and that will be the main focus of my intended research.) However, chat, IM and messages can feel like standing in a corner alone with someone. I’m actually quite fond of the idea of textual conversations vie the net as a new form of 19th century letter writing

Might be that there still is enough to do. That I haven’t entirely missed the academic bandwagon.