Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Storm. Pot. School.

Tonight, J. and I watched the third hour of the Spike Lee documentary, When the Levees Failed. We sobbed through the first two last week, and the third was no less affecting. See it if you haven't. It's a fairly traditional documentary about New Orleans and Katrina, but it's, I don't know, astounding? is that the word? I'm not sure how to describe it. It's devastating.

We have some dear friends who lived in the Lower Ninth Ward. They were on tour in Florida when the storm hit, so they were safe, but they lost their home. We had stayed with them several times when we were on the road. We recorded our last CD in their house, and lived in our camper in their yard for 3 weeks while we were recording. A good chunk of our documentary takes place in that neighborhood which really doesn't exist anymore.

Here in Austin, for days now a big storm has been headed our way. It's been humid and cloudy and warm. I was counting on a thunderstorm to watch from the safety of our front porch this evening, but it's almost midnight and still no storm. Maybe it'll hit just as I get in bed. I'll leave my door open just in case.

Yesterday we went to see Vacancy. I wouldn't recommend it. Tonight J. and I went to a lecture at U.T. by Bob Jensen called "Pornography and the Threat to Intimacy." I thought it would be interesting for me, since one of the big themes of the story in my screenplay is the question of how people make decisions about their sex lives against a backdrop of routine public sex. Not really about pornography, but related.

The lecture was more or less a recruiting session for a new group he and some other men on campus are forming called "A Call to Men," whose mission is to engage men in an effort to stop violence against women, using a radical feminist critique of pornography, particularly Andrea Dworkin's critique of pornography.

I had trouble with what I saw as Bob Jensen's simplistic view of pornography, and his tendency to make broad assumptions based on his own limited experience. And as always I had trouble with Andrea Dworkin's critique, which always feels authoritarian and anti-creative. On the other hand, it was hard not to sympathize with these men struggling to understand themselves, grappling with the same question -- "how do I find real intimacy in sex?" -- that I grapple with every goddamn day.

I always get a little tripped up in these academic feminist discussions of heterosexual sex and the subjugation and objectification of women. I've never really heard anyone in that camp address the fact that sex is always always at least to some extent if not essentially and inherently about objectification, about control and surrender, and about compulsion. As human beings it's what we do. If we want to create a more just society, where women are respected, do we try to work with that fact, or do we try to get around it?

And both J. and I felt a little out of place. It was not really a discussion that included queer people, and maybe that was appropriate.

I stopped smoking pot last Monday or Tuesday, because before too long I need to do one of these drug trials to get some money, and in order to sign up for a trial I need to pass a drug test. I like to wait at least a couple weeks after the last time I've smoked, since I've heard that marijuana can linger in your urine for weeks. The lengths I'll go to to make a living.

I held out for the first day of my friend M's visit -- she arrived on Friday and I told myself that I would refrain even if she and J. wanted to smoke, since it is her vacation after all -- but eventually on Saturday I broke down. Once I'd relented, I kept at it all weekend. Till today.

What else? I got accepted to U.T.! I heard yesterday.

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