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Sugar and spice

Ditmar results announced: congratulations to all who won & all who were nominated!

What she sez: Yay, Justine Larbalestier, for poking holes in that whole ‘woe is me, it’s just not the same around here since the golden age ended’ rubbish some people go on with. Please. I hate that shit. The best chance we have of seeing the best fiction in history to this point is right now, when we have the benefits of the (entire literary) canon that has been forged already, coupled with the unique insights of our time. And if I live a thousand years, you’ll find me saying the same thing a thousand years from now. Because literature is for the living, & the time we’re living is *right now*, so howsabout we goddamn make some use of it.

Also want to agree with the divine Ms L re. the new anonymous blog on genre fic. Its slogan is ‘Vote for stories, not for friends’. It’s as true in this field as in any other that there are alliances that can be made. Allegiances that may be used either to drum up promotion or conspire to keep silent, all because of friendship or other shared attributes. Though I prize honesty, I don’t necessarily support cruelty. Though I want to assist friends, I’m not comfortable with complicity or politic conspiracies. Also I know that these were the rules of the game as given to us, that we may forge strategic networks or otherwise, that we may offer ourselves as marketable product, or not. There are also a host of other positions and compromises that may be made and maintained. Each one of us makes our own decision, & all that is required is that we allow room enough for each other to find our own locations on the matrices.

I like the idea of an anonymous blog of honest critique. It’s a challenge, though. I wonder how long anonymity may be maintained. I wonder how much honesty is too much.

Related to the above post (by marriage): Scott Westerfeld covers interesting ground with his post on perceptions of beauty. Digital TV shows up Cameron Diaz’s bad skin. Shoot. Good thing I decided to stick with writing for a trade. Remind me to turn down all those Letterman interviews.

I couldn’t take that kind of pressure. Ah, how the myth of perfection has turned into a capitalist dream! Keep us anxious, keep us consuming, no possible resolution to either of these entwined processes.

Beauty is an interesting topic. I like beauty. What I consider beautiful, however, is not necessarily what Hollywood has so far been considering beautiful. I like people who are expressive & energetic & enthusiastic & optimistic. I think that sort of stuff shows up in a person’s face. I don’t necessarily think Zellweger looks better thinner than fatter (she kinda looks unhappy all the time), I didn’t think Zeta Jones was more heavenly when she squished herself into that tiny red dress at whateverawardceremonythatwas than when she was pregnant some months earlier. I think Streep looks more fabulous now than ever before. If I had to compile a list of the world’s most beautiful people, I would put Dawn French on it — & I would mean it.

But I’ve been aware of the ways celluloid (not cellulite, that’s an entirely different subject) has influenced us, given us what I call the ‘portrait of a lady’ syndrome, the idea that stasis is attractive, that planes and angles are desirable because of the way they direct the light into the lens. I could never watch Friends, because I couldn’t get past how thin the women were. (Also, it just wasn’t my thing.) I saw ‘The Interpreter’ the other week & it’s a really good film, but Nicole Kidman has no thighs, no hips, no ribs, nothing, nothing, I swear. There is nothing between her chin and her knees except distance. Good thing she can act with her eyes. There’s not much more to her. She’s thin. Very thin.

Or, her knees are huge. One or the other. Both, maybe.

This is not a criticism of Nicole Kidman, though. Turns out you really can ‘never be too rich or too thin’. I feel that desire, myself, to escape corporeal reality & turn myself into a feather, a satin sheet, a canvas, a veritable page of a human being, as slim as a photographic negative. And being that slight, that insubstantial, like air, like an angel, somehow I will have escaped my biology and with that escape comes the defeat of death. I will be too ethereal to die.

It is the only explanation for how those women on film get so thin and still manage to stand upright, still smile, still have porcelain skin, still have teeth that aren’t falling out of their heads. And people say, ‘I’m sure there are health consequences to being that thin’ — but are there? You would think by now someone would’ve expired on the red carpet. But, of course, they can’t. For that to happen they would have to be alive. Made of meat. But they are made of air and light.

And here’s another beef I have: when people say, ‘we should eat more like they did in caveman times because it was more natural for our bodies’ … was it? Really? Why? And, if it’s true, why haven’t our bodies evolved yet? Why did they get to caveman times (cavePEOPLE! I hear some of you cry) & then just stop? ‘OK, honey, looks like we got us a cave, think I’ll squat here with a physique that craves cheesecake at the same time as being wholly unable to healthily digest it, what do yer say?’

So many things make no sense to me.

Anyway, beauty. Beauty is interesting.