Elaine May on the set of A New Leaf (1971)
Elaine May on the set of A New Leaf (1971)
Anonymous asked: i feel like you're so theoretical. i don't blame you for being educated, obviously, but it almost furthers this idea that you have to know theory/theorists in order to be part of the conversation.
I’m not actually sure how to answer this.I’m gonna try, because “I know worse” seems like a smug way to reply…and please bear with me, and I apologize in advance if I sound like a douchecanoe. Here goes:
1)I definitely don’t ascribe to that idea.
2) I’m not sure what conversation you’re referring to?
3) I’m confused.
4) All good conversations need questions.
Everyone has something interesting to say, and a neat take on the world (for the most part), and I definitely think that there’s life outside Derrida. Just not for me, lol. I’m not sure if this is related to what I write (and when I do write publicly, I’m either doing shorthand notes for myself…so I’m not even explaining myself the way I would were I actually writing a piece/essay to be read), or just how I am as a person. Like, if it’s about my work…in a few places I try really hard not to get super jargony/I try to make it a little more fun to read/ I’m definitely of the opinion that theory (just like music, or coding, or science, or anything that doesn’t involve too much hand-eye coordination because that shit is IMPOSSIBLE) is something that everyone can learn/everyone should have access too/some people just need a more accessible place to jump off from. If I know I’m writing for an audience, and not talking to my friends/talking to myself out loud, then I try to write for an audience who doesn’t know theory, but wants to learn something cool. As well, sometimes I find that I sound MORE convoluted when I simplify/I feel like I’m not doing stuff justice, so it’s a hard balance to strike.
Sidebar: I find that being too theoretical often gets levelled at humanities kids, whereas I rarely hear “too theoretical” as a criticism of people who are super into Mathematics, Sciences, or Tech (which I would love to learn more about.) That’s just a pet peeve of mine, but anyhoo…
If it’s not about my writing, and more about just how I am as a person…then I don’t know what to tell you? I’m pretty pedantic and in my own head/I’m a lot more comfortable in these theoretical spaces that seem really abstract, but actually are a lot clearer to me than what’s supposed to feel concrete. It’s a dumbshit answer that makes me sound like I’m up my own ass,and admittedly, I’m pretty fucking oblivious because my brain is basically like “OOH SHINY IDEA OOOH SHINY IDEA OOOH ANOTHER ONE” so I *really* don’t have a gauge on when I’m “too theoretical” and when I’m not…mostly because I dunno…I don’t care? *kanye shrug* Some people collect pokemon cards, other people read a shitton of Kant. You can have a perfectly fulfilling life not reading a shitton of Kant, and you’d probably be a lot happier for it. Similarly, you can have a rad existence with nary a pokemon card in sight. Also, you get to a point in your life where you just kind of atrophy due to lack of sunlight, and you forget how to talk to people. Like, I wish I could say that I was packed off to university and I acquired this like a bad tattoo or a case of mental herpes…but unfortunately, I’ve been an insufferable nerd since day one.
This is really interesting to read, I’ve often wanted to ask that of academic fashion bloggers. I have an applied education and have entered the fashion world through working on a practical level - drawing and sewing. An insufferable nerd too, but in a different way.
When I write theoretically, as I love to do for my own satisfaction (like you!), I sometimes feel like an imposter because I’m self-taught. On the other hand, my readers come from such a broad array of backgrounds and experiences and sometimes say they find my writing accessible because I’m not assuming anyone needs a background of Baudelaire and Derrida to understand fashion on a deeper level. As someone who was homeschooled as a child, I’m skeptical of school in general and occasionally catch myself committing reverse-snobbery. That comes from being in a position where academic education is so far beyond my means. It’s like being envious of people who carry Hermes bags. So I recognize the plaintive, outsider envy of the anonymous questioner.
If we are blogging, we do it for the joy of it. Write the blog you want to read. If it’s full of five-syllable words and footnotes, so be it. You will find readers at your own level, that’s all that matters.
Denis Diderot, Tailleur d’Habits et Tailleurs de Corps, 1776
"Appearances Can Be Deceiving" drawing by Frida Kahlo, 1934
Paper Dolls by Zelda Fitzgerald
(via Zelda Fitzgerald’s Little-Known Art | Brain Pickings)