Friday, February 23, 2007


Like the ABA and the NBA, this blog has merged with Pacifist Viking.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

This blog sucks

Rereading a lot of old posts, I'm depressed. On the one hand, I think, "I used to think this way, with such overflowing energy. What happened?" On the other hand, I think, "The things I wrote before that I thought were good were really lousy."

I hate this blog. I am not deleting it because I have links on the side that I use to get to interesting things. But this site, for all intents and purposes, is dead.


I'm considering this project a failure. I had two goals in creating this blog.

1. Find a place to start dialogue about literature and theory. This was a failure--it has never turned into a place of dialogue. The PV blog has had more intellectual dialogue than this one, and even the stupid Sven blog has found a niche.

2. Find a place to express my ideas about literature and theory. Well, that's what it was, even with very few readers. But I haven't written a post that really interested me in months.

I'm going on hiatus here. Rob still has access and can write if he wants to. Soon I'll put together a post that will link to my favorite essays I've written.

Smell you later.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

This is the end...

I'm seriously considering deleting this blog. Destroying it, blowing it up for all-time. I would probably copy some of my favorite "essays" I've written, but that's it. I still need a place to express ideas of a literary nature--but I'm finding ways to do so in other venues. The hell with it. I think I may have said all I really have to say in this spot.

I'll give the next 48 hours for anybody to convince me I shouldn't.

I could always just go on hiatus and leave this here...but that's so unfulfilling.

Should this be the end of Costanza Book Club?

Here's what I'd probably do: I'd go through and delete most of the posts, leaving just my favorite ones up here as a sort of database of my ideas.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Being Vegan

Frankly, I wish I had never had a moral thought in my life. Oh, what pleasures I could experience.

But once I reached the conclusion that I shouldn't eat animals, it seemed there was little choice but to go a step further. For me, the line between imprisoning, mutilating, and torturing a chicken for its wings and imprisoning, mutilating, and torturing a chicken for its eggs is a very thin line. However, I encourage others never to become vegan. Why? Because I like my sense of moral superiority. Never underestimate the value of a sense of moral superiority--it can get you through a lot of tough times.

But the difference in difficulty between being a vegetarian or a meat-eater and between being a vegan or a vegetarian is quite great. I can't even have cheese, which is torquing me off like nothing else (I could have soy cheese--unfortunately, in this area all the soy cheese I've found contains milk casein, making it a waste for a vegan. There is vegan-friendly rice and soy cheese--I just can't find it around here. But the quest never ends. It's not meat that makes me wish I weren't vegan--it is definitely cheese. Oh, for a slice of pizza! You just never realize how intrical cheese is to a good meal). As a vegetarian, you know what options are available to you; as a vegan, you always have to look closer and rarely can assume. At any restaurant, there will be options (or easy alterations) for a vegetarian; for a vegan, those options are much more limited.

No regrets--this is the life I've chosen. And I'm losing weight (which should go a lot better in two weeks when my load drops down and I can get exercising again). I feel good about my lifestyle choice and believe I can continue to maintain it (I'm almost at two months here--if I can just find some acceptable soy cheese, I'll fall over with joy).


"Child-Safety Experts Call For Restrictions On Childhood Imagination" (the Onion)

Friday, February 16, 2007

Stop Martin Scorcese!

I watched The Departed last night. Scorcese is clearly one of the great movie directors (not necessarily evident from this film, but from his career). But some studio executive somewhere needs to reign him in.

Somebody could let him know that not every movie has to clock over two and a half hours. In fact, a movie might be BETTER if you are able to cut out some unnecessary material, making it tighter. Instead his (very good) movies rattle onward, longer and longer, hurting the overall film quality and experience.

Stop Martin Scorcese!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Do I even know what is out there? Rambing thoughts on gender, perception, feminism, and idealism

I've recently come to realize I live in an idealized world when it comes to gender. It all should have been clear to me before, and when I look back, of course it was there all along, but still, i've got a new realization.

I have an idealized view: I tend to think of men and women equally, think concepts like "battle of the sexes" have been abandoned decades ago, and assume most of society thinks the same way. Now, looking back, how I thought the rest of society was thinking this way is a mystery to me.

Perhaps as an English student with a B.S. and and M.A., the concept of feminism has been so internalized in my mind that I accept its premises without thinking. I accept that differences between men and women are largely socially constructed (not that there aren't biologically inherent differences, of course, but that how we understand roles for men and women, and acceptable behavior and appearance for men and women, is entirely socially constructed). I work in a field with a generally progressive atmosphere and the strong presense of women in leadership positions. I am married to a strong feminist and we don't act like some jobs are for me and some jobs are for her, except to the extent that we actually apportion out jobs. Not that we don't act different, and not that we aren't influenced by both our biology and our existence in a society with particular roles, portrayals, and perceptions for 26 years, but that we don't fully accept them. We're aware, we analyze. And most of my friends and acquaintances, men and women, are progressive people who are conscious and aware of gender stereotypes and don't usually engage in them.

Equality for men and women is one of my strong and accepted values. The avoidance of stereotyping men or women is another. The freedom to be what one desires, not what one is told by society is acceptable for a specific gender role, is another. I feel fairly comfortable calling myself a feminist.

At the same time, I have recognized that the world doesn't work entirely this way. Every standup comedian falls back on his/her "men and women are so different" schticks with the same jokes about toilet seats. I know a guy that doesn't want to be seen holding his wife's purse (I wonder what he thinks will happen. Will people see that and forget he's a man? Will they think he's gay? What on earth is possibly the concern?). I knew a person who thought there was something inherently different between men and women that prevented women from really understanding football (seriously). But...I thought this was an old-fashioned idea. I thought the majority had moved past it. I thought most progressive people shunned such barbarian concepts as "battle of the sexes" or traditional gender roles. But how could that be? I'm AWARE that most people in society have these backward views that I specifically measure myself against...and at the same time I thought that most people in society had moved past these views.

So what are people out there thinking? When I hear cliched arguments, comments, discussions, or conversations about what movies men/women like or don't like, I'm bored by the predictability and assume the speakers need to move on. But this isn't the case. I laugh at sitcoms and their conventional gender roles and stereotypes (I often talk about how in sitcom marriages, the husband gets to act like an irresponsible adolescent while the wife needs to be responsible, so that the relationship is more of a son to mother relationship than a husband to wife peer relationship), but yet I thought most people didn't think this way? These sitcoms work because the majority accepts these stereotypes. I watch them with self-aware and critical perception, not accepting the premises even as I might laugh at the show. But most people ARE accepting the premise. I talk about how in commercials there are the strictest of the strict traditional, conventional roles. I criticize how advertisements portray the traditional and accepted roles of men and women. And I talk about how these portrayals and representations influence us as we grow up.

So, I see now I've been living somewhat blindly in an idealized world, even while aware that I wasn't, and even while being self-aware, critical, and conscious of just what was going on and how it was affecting me and others.

So there: I promised rambling, and I gave you rambling.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Links and the Business

Today I'm getting ready to teach William Faulkner's "Barn Burning," a masterpiece of inner conflict. Here's a list of tensions I came up with in this short story:
--obligations of Law, Right, Family
--Free Will v. Biology/Fate/Determinism
--Peace v. Conflict
--Family v. Others
--Adult Sarty v. Boy Sarty
--Family v. Sarty
--Chaos v. Order

One of my favorite passages in all of literature comes from this story:

"this the old habit, the old blood which he had not been permitted to choose for himself, which had been bequeathed him willy nilly and which had run for so long (and who knew where, battening on what of outrage and savagery and lust) before it came to him. I could keep on, he thought. I could run on and on and never look back, never need to see his face again. Only I can't, I can't..."

Now some links.

A few comments on The Glass Menagerie at the the Guthrie.

Some comments on Robert Frost's poetry

My own comments on an A.E. Housman poem at a different blog.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Pet Literary Hates

Sam Jordison: "I Can't Bear Henry James..."

If you have any opinions about literature, read it: I promise you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

HBO will always meet your expectations

Possible Flurries and I have yet to be disappointed by an HBO show. We've blitzed our way through the five seasons of Six Feet Under and Curb Your Enthusiasm, the first two seasons of Deadwood, and the first season of Rome. Now we've got through the first season of The Sopranos, with more seasons on the queue. The HBox just always gives us the most compelling, well-done, creative works.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Naked Horseback Riding

My wife informed me of a delightful story. Daniel Radcliffe, the guy who plays Harry Potter, is starring in a new production of Equus.

He's going full frontal. And if you've read Equus, you know this play won't just feature a naked Harry Potter; it will feature a naked Harry Potter riding a guy pretending to be a horse.

Here are some links with photos that I initially found here.

The Daily Telegraph

The Sun

Evening Standard

You have to respect the guy expanding as an actor. I just hope no parents in London listen when their kids say "Mommy and Daddy, I want to go see Harry Potter!"