On A Certain Amount of Suffering: On the Women of True Detective

@Michelle H. Sellars@facebook I have been in the "It was Marty" camp off and on--not in the sense that I want to be him, but in the sense that I feel like he's implicated in it. Having read the Pizzolato interview on Buzzfeed, I realize that Pizzolato on some level wants you to think that it at least could be Marty. Marty is implicated by his inability to conceive of women as fully fledged, autonomous human beings. This contrasts with his efforts to solve the crime, which sort of redeem him, along with the fact that his ideas about women have led him to a place of such deep (and not undeserved) unhappiness. So I mean... yeah, it kind of is Marty, in the sense these crimes take place in a world where Marty's view of women is sadly common among men and enables these kinds of crimes to go unchecked. But is it Marty who's actually killing women? Nope.

Posted on March 8, 2014 at 9:06 pm 2

On A Certain Amount of Suffering: On the Women of True Detective

@madeleineld I don't know that I agree that the Larson books feature that much of women being rescued by men. In fairness, it's been a while since I've read them, but I think part of what I found appealing about them was that Salander consistently rescues herself against a backdrop of disbelief or unconcern from men, especially male authority figures. I also felt like the heavy plot emphasis in the second and third books on human trafficking was a direct commentary on this same issue; the idea that these women are invisible and therefore disposable. I thought it also did a good job of showing that men who seem perfectly ordinary and who are harmless in certain contexts can be sadistic in others. That's not to say that I agree with the depiction of all men who attack women as profoundly twisted (they are depressingly ordinary and common), or that I think the novels are flawless feminist manifestos, I just don't know that that particular critique is accurate.
The book is highly dramatized, of course, but I felt like Larson managed to get at some interesting points, especially the isolation that women who seek their own autonomy face and the challenge of balancing a desire for power against a desire to be feminine.

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 9:22 pm 0

On A Certain Amount of Suffering: On the Women of True Detective

I think for me, it's kind of a given that Dora Lang would be a prostitute. There's a sexual component to the killings, and beyond that, I think it reflects real life killers like the Green River Killer, who was able to carry on for a very long time specifically because he targeted prostitutes. It's part and parcel of Marty's concern about purity; it's Rust who's really interested in keeping the Lang case. It's Rust who spots the "Have You Seen Me" and starts looking into women being kidnapped/murdered. Marty only gets really emotionally involved when the victims are young children. He engages in violence, but Marty's violence is directed primarily at the men with whom women violate their purity; most of his violence with his mistress is directed at her date, the same way the violence of his response to his daughter is directed at the young men involved. He sees women as essentially passive, capable only of reaction; that's what innocence is in his mind. It's what makes him go after what Rust calls "crazy pussy"; those women pursue him, but in his worldview they pursue him as a reaction to his maleness and masculinity. Even with Maggie, his rage is directed at Rust. It's not so much that Marty hates women, it's that he dismisses them as actors. I see that as the sort of central tension between Rust and Marty; Rust's rage at the CID is wrapped up not only in the complicity of the organization in the conspiracy, but in the larger social conspiracy to dismiss the damage done and being done to women. On some level, he realizes Marty is part of this, but at the same time, he can't go it alone.

On the flip side, I would throw out there that I think Maggie is the most complete character on the show. She is the one who knows what she wants and creates a plan and acts. What does that mean in the context of the narrative? I don't know. I guess we'll find out Sunday.

Posted on March 7, 2014 at 2:53 pm 6

On Internet Work and Invisible Labor: Suri's Burn Book and the Celebrity Offspring Economy

First of all, thank you AHP for this fantastic series--I'm really enjoying following it.

Second, Allie, I cannot tell you how much I enjoy your blog. I really hope that when Suri is grown she looks back at your tumblr and is delighted to have such a hilarious and on point alter ego.

Posted on February 4, 2014 at 5:17 pm 1

On Vin Diesel Made a Special Video For You?

I... might be in love with Vin Diesel? Like, the more I learn about him, the more I want to invite him over to watch LOTR and make out.

Posted on January 28, 2014 at 4:20 pm 0

On The Real Fantasy of Downton Abbey

I don't know what keeps you all going back to Downton. I quit after the end of the third season, and I haven't looked back. I was a little tired of the characters, but the end of season 3 just pushed the plot into the land of ridiculous. It's becoming a PBS version of Passions.

Posted on January 21, 2014 at 5:53 pm 0

On Scandals of Classic Hollywood: The Most Kissable Hands of Pola Negri

"She was like the sad, over-dressed girl crying in the bathroom at the party filled with perky-breasted freshmen." PERFECTION.

So glad to have a new SOCH, and AHP, you are KILLING it in the alt-text!

Also, I want you to know that I finally watched Sunset Boulevard like three months ago and I have not shut up about it since.


I was watching TCM and they showed two movies back to back with Rita Hayworth and Joan Crawford playing the same character, and it was amazing.

Posted on November 14, 2013 at 4:21 pm 1

On bell hooks on Sheryl Sandberg's "Faux Feminism"

@lucy snowe I like this parallel; I think it's a fair to compare them, since accommodation as Washington postulated was about working within the existing system to achieve the same gains that white men already head, whereas Du Bois challenged the system on a fundamental level, recognizing that the subjugation of black was part of the institutionalized framework of society. It's a fair analogy: Sandberg is arguing that women need to work within the capitalist system and achieve more, while hooks (and a number of other feminist thinkers) are arguing that the system is the problem, and we need to challenge it because though Sandberg's approach might help some women, it does nothing to address the institutionalized gender bias.

It gets tricky when you get to Du Bois' "Talented Tenth" idea though, so you might want to bring in like Marcus Garvey or some other more radical thinkers. I hope you go for it, and I hope I get to see the link on Feminist Wire! I'd love to read this.

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 12:33 pm 1

On Tiny Spite House Sells

I would live quite happily in this spiteful little house.

Posted on October 30, 2013 at 12:24 pm 0

On I'll Have What Lolo Jones Is Having

I could do this. Nutella and french fries, all day every day, maybe with a milkshake thrown in for kicks.

Posted on October 1, 2013 at 12:06 pm 1