… impressionism, by Camille Pissarro
I will post some pretty birds from this winter in due course. So the weather in the pictures will not always correspond to the actual weather out here.
However, these pictures were taken today. The winter tried to reclaim the land and we had several days of wind, snow, and freezing temperatures. I do hope that the seeds that I have planted in the greenhouse survived.
Open letters are a time honoured form of activism. They allow individuals to connect over a single and very specific issue and raise awareness for that cause. They are, of course, also problematic in a way, since they usually are initiated by people who already have some influence and publicity, because nobody publishes an open letter signed by 40 noobs with a blog and a 50 people Twitter account, so they’re usually a tool of academia, authors, or various kinds of celebrities. At least you need a couple of celebrities to boost your idea.
The latest round of “gender critical”, aka transphobic open letter seems to have suffered from a certain lack of celebrity endorsement, which is why they decided to simply sign the names of dead women to their cause. “Come on, Giliell”, I hear you say, “nobody would be that dishonest”. But go, look for yourselves: Here it is.
The letter itself is the usual transphobic whining about trans women taking things from cis women, like all those shiny Olympic medals trans women have so far failed to win. The novel “Detransition, Baby”, by Torres Peters, has been listed for the Women’s Prize for Fiction. The usual suspects are all up in arms because a literary prize that was founded to celebrate women’s often undervalued contributions to fiction has dared to list a novel by a trans woman, and this is of course another instance of a “trans identified male” taking things from “biological women”, just like in sports. Only that of course they always try to base their bigotry on biology, claiming that anybody amab has intrinsic and immutable advantages over anybody afab. Does this mean they’re indirectly claiming that women cannot write and therefore need some protected prizes where they don’t have to compete with men?*
But let’s not get sidetracked from the incredible dishonesty of “the dead agree with me via ouija board”. Among the “supporters” of the letter you’ll find Emily Dickinson, Daphne du Maurier and Mary Anne Evans, aka George Elliot. Why they couldn’t get the Transphobe in Chief, the woman writer who publishes under her initials, a male pseudonym of a guy who tortured gay people, and who singlehandedly invented women back in the 1990s to sign their letter, I don’t know. Now, we all like to claim great woman of the past as our forbearers, brand ourselves as their heirs, but a simple fact is that we have no idea what their opinion on many things was or would have been. Who knows what Rosa Luxemburg would have thought about gay marriage? For a couple of other issues we do know their positions and they are horrible, especially with regards to race. Is it possible that these people would have agreed with them? Sure. Does that mean anything? Not unless you declare them infallible. Now, given that many transphobes are also terribly racist and homophobe, they probably consider that a feature, not a bug, since they happily outsource critical thinking.
It is, of course, also possible that those women would have told them to stuff it. It happens time again with modern authors who they suppose agree with their bigotry, like Margret Atwood. And after all, it is pretty unimportant. Those women are long dead, and while celebrities sure can help or hinder a cause, their opinion does not magically make a position right or wrong. Human rights are not determined by Grammy nominations or book prizes. There’s a hell lot of horrible people with book prizes or Nobel prizes. In the end that’s just an argument from second hand authority and you learn back in grade 10 that those are not actually arguments at all. By the end of the day it’s just another episode of transphobes (if you read the list you will indeed find familiar names) being terrible, and none of them sees any issue with this.
*Just to make this clear: I’m very fond of things like Women’s Prize for Fiction. We don’t have a level playing field and authors don’t get published by sole merit of their writing. Until we have a level playing field we do need Women’s Prizes, Black Literature Prizes, Queer Literature Prizes etc.
Anna Rudolf has a few tales to tell about sexism in Chess, although she does not talk explicitly about sexism. However, I do think that her false accusation of cheating has a lot to do with some men’s fragile egos being hurt by losing to a woman.
The tale has a happy-ish ending in the sense that she was vindicated and her accusers were reprimanded for wantonly accusing her sans evidence. However, I do wonder if she would have won the tournament and the GM title if she were not so emotionally distraught in that last game.
… ageing body positivity in portraiture, by Joan Semmel
The pictures are below the fold because they are nudes and are NSFW. They are unusual because they portray the ageing female body in a positive light. The story is from HuffPost, and the artist describes her work thusly,
“I painted in layers so that the evidence of age would not be erased by virtuoso paint handling. The sensuality of the flesh permeates these paintings, a sensuality that is not confined to youth. I had entered into a relationship with artist John Hardy, with whom I lived for 21 years before he passed away in 2014. These late years were empowering and rewarding in every sense, something I hoped to communicate through my work.
“The issues of the body from desire to aging, as well as those of identity and cultural imprinting, have been at the core of my concerns. The carnal nature of paint has seemed to me a perfect metaphor, the specifics of image, a necessary elaboration. The last 45 years of work, I think, reveal my ongoing interest in both process and relevance.”
I’ve been slowing down a little, needing some more inspiration on the one hand, and also being too damn tired on the other, but I did get some things done and started a new batch heading in the “cute” direction. I also <i>almost</i> managed to get your stuff shipped. Then the automatic post station refused to accept one of the parcels and I noticed at literally the last second that I had mixed up the labels on two other envelopes… Next try on Tuesday…
I got some new pigments and used them to stencil flowers on a black blank. I like it very much and attached an elastic.
Part of a straw flower set on brass bezels.
This one’s rather large and set into wire. it glitters nicely in the sunlight with its back being crinkled tinfoil.
Same technique as above, with crinkled tinfoil, but it looked a bit boring, so I put a lot of plastic “gems” on top to refracture light.
Some stuff I’d ordered finally arrived. 2021, when the most exciting thing is watching a parcel with llama moulds travel all the way from China.
I need to finish the matching necklace, though.
And last but not least, my upcoming project:
You gotta resin them all… Whoever owns the rights to Pokémon seems a lot more relaxed about trademarks than Disney, because you can get a lot of Pokémon themed craft supplies. There’s this guy in Thailand who makes excellent Pokémon themed moulds, so when I saw the heads and tails Eeevie moulds I had to get them. Shipping from Thailand was extremely fast, btw.
This is what they look like, ready to be painted, only that painting is a pain (ting) in the ass, because it’s so tiny and I’m no good with a brush. the Eevies got too dark, so I had to recast them.