January 26th, 2009

rengeek kit icarus

be the change that you want to see

Book #7: Lisa Hopkins, Christopher Marlowe: Renaissance Dramatist

She had me when, after a catalogue of Kit's alleged sins of atheism and sodomy, she remarked:

Nevertheless, attempts to argue for an orthodox Marlowe are essentially as desperate as arguments for a heterosexual one. Personally, the thing I most deplore is the fondness for tobacco, but there doesn't seem much point in trying to argue that away, either: this was a man who rebelled, who thought for himself, and who liked to shock.

All in all, I think this is a pretty nice overview of the state of Marlowe criticism, though (like almost all the Marlowe criticism I'm familiar with) it neglects two points that seem painfully obvious to me. One is that "The Passionate Shepherd" is a veiled political commentary. (It's Marlowe. He deconstructed and subverted. It was his way.)

The other is that Marlowe's female characters may be disempowered, but they are always, it seems to me, presented with a peculiar sympathy in their disempowerment. Hopkins acknowledges something that most critics of Marlowe dismiss, which is that his women are almost universally the only decent people in his plays (and they die of it, but then the men die of being indecent people). However, she falls for what I think is the trap of seeing Isabella in Edward II as a totally unsympathetic character, and I have never understood how that works.

How can you fail to see authorial empathy--if not sympathy--for the character who speaks her first intention with these lines?

Unto the forest, gentle Mortimer,
To live in grief and baleful discontent;
For now, my lord, the king regards me not,
But dotes upon the love of Gaveston.

He claps his cheeks, and hangs about his neck,
Smiles in his face, and whispers in his ears ;
And when I come he frowns, as who should say,
' Go whither thou wilt, seeing I have Gaveston.' 

However, those quibbles aside, I am pleased that Hopkins acknowledge and takes as one of her primary arguments one of the things I love about Marlowe, which is that he is unique among Elizabethan dramatists is consistently placing the outsiders in his world-picture (the Jew, the Scythian warlord, the African queen, the Frenchman, the necromancer, the homosexual) in a subject position, and I give her mad props for saying that.

literature charlotte some spider

all i ask of dying is to go naturally

Via a locked entry on my flist, Teahouse fox love, including cultural context of which I had previously been entirely ignorant. And here's an explanation of what exactly is going on in the 3:14 am Easter Egg.

I had assumed the fox was a kitsune, which I now see was incorrect, and I missed evidence to the contrary that I should have recognized (such as his/her tai chi habit).

Personally, I am curious as to whether anybody's found a late-night interstitial scene for the iGoogle fox, because as you may have noticed, when she/he goes to bed, he/she leaves an offering of oranges and incense, and by pre-dawn, the offering has vanished.

i could have died from being boring

I decided that tonight, I was in a really good mood, and there were a whole bunch of new unrated routes that looked like they might even be doable, so I gave myself permission to suck and try all sorts of things I wasn't sure I could do.

I think this means I'm officially working on 5.8s and 5.9s now, because I couldn't do any of them, and my hands are totally shralped from trying. Raw and painful, even. I did, however, at least get on all of them, and in a couple of cases I made several moves. (One, I got a third of: another I got half, with a lot of thrashing.)

However, my elbow is working better, and so is my finger (something to be said for support gear).

I think my tired from last week was calorie deficit, which means I need to schedule things so my heavy eating days are also my climbing days.

Good news, however, is that both my cardio condition and my strength are such that I don't get tired climbing anymore. I do get pumped, which is a technical meaning my forearms and hands are the fuck out of glucose and oxygen and don't work anymore, thank you (seriously, this is intense exercise), but there's not the lactic acid burn or the cardiovascular exhaustion, except in the immediate aftermath of extreme anaerobic exertion when one lies on the floor and pants until one's blood re-oxygenates.