Why doesn’t Batman have relationships? He’s Gothamsexual.

Scott Snyder (via divawitha-d)
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"What do you love about this city? I mean, it’s an awful place to live. It’s terrible. It’s unaffordable. Dangerous and full of rain. It’s a monster. So why? Why do you love it?

"The truth is, only you know why you stay here. Why you put up with this place. Or maybe you don’t know. I didn’t know why I came back until just a little while ago. But standing here today, right now, I can tell you why I love it. I love it because it’s a city people come to because they want to become something more than what they are. I used to come here after school and imagine this great person I might one day become. And what I’m saying is, maybe that’s the thing. Maybe that’s why.

"We come here, to Gotham, because it’s transformative, this place. We come here with our dreams and the city, it looks at us with its unblinking stone eye—an eye that sees all our faults, everything we’re afraid is true about ourselves—and it says, ‘Try. I dare you.’

And then Gotham stares you down, doesn’t it? More than any other city in the world, it fights you, challenges you to give up, to leave, to fall down and die. But you don’t. No. Because deep down you know—you know—that if you stand up to the challenge, if you walk through the fire, you will emerge changed. Burned down to that self you knew was there all along. The one you came here to be.”

—BATMAN #24, written by Scott Snyder.

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If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can write a better man than the best male writer can write a good woman. And it’s just the minimum. Because the thing about the sort of heteronormative masculine privilege, whether it’s in Santo Domingo, or the United States, is you grow up your entire life being told that women aren’t human beings, and that women have no independent subjectivity. And because you grow up with this, it’s this huge surprise when you go to college and realize that, “Oh, women aren’t people who does my shit and fucks me.”

And I think that this a huge challenge for boys, because they want to pretend they can write girls. Every time I’m teaching boys to write, I read their women to them, and I’m like, “Yo, you think this is good writing?” These motherfuckers attack each other over cliche lines but they won’t attack each other over these toxic representations of women that they have inherited… their sexist shorthand, they think that is observation. They think that their sexist distortions are insight. And if you’re in a writing program and you say to a guy that their characters are sexist, this guy, it’s like you said they fucking love Hitler. They will fight tooth and nail because they want to preserve this really vicious sexism in the art because that is what they have been taught.

And I think the first step is to admit that you, because of your privilege, have a very distorted sense of women’s subjectivity. And without an enormous amount of assistance, you’re not even going to get a D. I think with male writers the most that you can hope for is a D with an occasional C thrown in. Where the average women writer, when she writes men, she gets a B right off the bat, because they spent their whole life being taught that men have a subjectivity. In fact, part of the whole feminism revolution was saying, “Me too, motherfuckers.” So women come with it built in because of the society.

It’s the same way when people write about race. If you didn’t grow up being a subaltern person in the United States, you might need help writing about race. Motherfuckers are like ‘I got a black boy friend,’ and their shit sounds like Klan Fiction 101.

The most toxic formulas in our cultures are not pass down in political practice, they’re pass down in mundane narratives. It’s our fiction where the toxic virus of sexism, racism, homophobia, where it passes from one generation to the next, and the average artist will kill you before they remove those poisons. And if you want to be a good artist, it means writing, really, about the world. And when you write cliches, whether they are sexist, racist, homophobic, classist, that is a fucking cliche. And motherfuckers will kill you for their cliches about x, but they want their cliches about their race, class, queerness. They want it in there because they feel lost without it. So for me, this has always been the great challenge.

As a writer, if you’re really trying to write something new, you must figure out, with the help of a community, how can you shed these fucking received formulas. They are received. You didn’t come up with them. And why we need fellow artists is because they help us stay on track. They tell you, “You know what? You’re a bit of a fucking homophobe.” You can’t write about the world with these simplistic distortions. They are cliches. People know art, always, because they are uncomfortable. Art discomforts. The trangressiveness of art has to deal with confronting people with the real. And sexism is a way to avoid the real, avoiding the reality of women. Homophobia is to avoid the real, the reality of queerness. All these things are the way we hide from encountering the real. But art, art is just about that.

Junot Diaz speaking at Word Up Bookshop, 2012 (via clambistro)


I would just like to reblog this and say that I believe most of it to be utter bullshit. Junot Diaz, I respect you, but don’t fucking tell me that writing from a male POV makes me a shit writer, because it’s all I’ve ever done, mostly because I’m afraid of falling back to the very cliches you describe here. 

The notion of art directly reflecting reality does not work in the land of fantasy fiction, or anything beyond lifestyle and memoir. Fictional counterparts never run in a strictly reflective line. Claiming that certain writers of particular backgrounds are unfit to write from other perspectives is to claim that art is not meant to go beyond existing as yourself, as if that’s the most sacred thing while art is only a feeble attempt. The entire purpose of art, and writing in particular, is to step into the shoes of others, to expand your worldview.

When Wally Lamb (middle-aged and male) first published SHE’S COME UNDONE, many reviews acclaimed it for being an “accurate” first-person portrayal of a woman. (Some even went so far as to say that rape is a purely female experience.) Who the hell has the authority to say that a certain point of view is “accurate” or that boy writers “suck at writing women” and their insights are obviously “sexist”?

I just can’t stand writer/artist bullshit that claims to be the be-all, end-all of what works and what doesn’t work. Your have your own experiences. Fine. But to say that young writers attempting to write about race, gender, and sexuality apart from their own always “suck at it” is not going to encourage them to expand their viewpoints— it is going to scare them off, resigning people to writing only about their own lives instead of anything that comes into their mind.

In my college writing workshop all the other students wrote about college life. It made me want to shoot myself in the head. If that’s the kind of writing workshop that creates “good writing”, then count me the fuck out.

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"You guys know about vampires? … You know, vampires have no reflections in a mirror? There’s this idea that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. And what I’ve always thought isn’t that monsters don’t have reflections in a mirror. It’s that if you want to make a human being into a monster, deny them, at the cultural level, any reflection of themselves. And growing up, I felt like a monster in some ways. I didn’t see myself reflected at all. I was like, “Yo, is something wrong with me? That the whole society seems to think that people like me don’t exist? And part of what inspired me, was this deep desire that before I died, I would make a couple of mirrors. That I would make some mirrors so that kids like me might see themselves reflected back and might not feel so monstrous for it."

Junot Diaz - on cultural representation in our world (via eshusplayground)
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