Saturday, November 02, 2002

Why I am a Goblin Queen:

My email used to be goblinqueen@davidbowie.com. Sadly, this email no longer exists, but I still like the identity of Goblin Queen. Here’s an email I wrote back when I first obtained that email address explaining its genesis:

I've recently decided that AOL is one manifestation of evil in the world. I think this for a number of reasons. I've been noticing that it promotes very stupid and degrading stereotypes of both genders and terrible values about sex. Some examples are: if you go to the AOL Men page you can sometimes find a link that says: "Why do women play hard to get? Find out here." If you go to the AOL Women page you can sometimes find a link that says: "Number one way to snag a man: Play hard to get. Read more here." Caroline and I recently took an “Are You Sexy?” quiz on AOL. It informed me that I was Too Tame (it appeared to base this verdict on my habit of biting my nails and my lack of Victoria's Secret underwear (though one of the reasons I don’t have fancy underwear is that I often don’t WEAR underwear, but the quiz didn’t give that as an option) and told me that I must be insecure about my body and confused by the conflicting messages society sends to women about whether they should be sexual. (Alright, maybe that's true, but I don’t think the criteria the quiz used to make that determination were valid.) It told Caroline she was a Serious Seductress, but that she was compensating for an inner sense of inferiority and that her amped-up sexuality was probably turning men off. What was that about conflicting messages? It's not just that; I'm tired of having some product pushed in my face every time I try to sign on, including some pretty absurd ones ("Real Simple: a magazine for people who want to simplify their life"); I'm paying for this service; I shouldn't have to suffer such intrusive advertising. In general, I think AOL is the purveyor of the most banal, lowest-common-denominator, un-self-conscious media content I have come across in a long time. Soap Opera Digest is *much* better reading, let me tell you. There was this one really sweet story about this blind wallaby who only had human friends because all the other wallabies picked on him, until this other wallaby came to the wallaby ranch, fell in a pond and also went blind, and then the two blind wallabies became friends and snuggled together nose to nose. It even had a picture of one of the blind wallabies, and it was really cute; it even had scrunched up little eyes. It made me really want a pet wallaby, but Grushenka [my erstwhile pet rabbit] is sort of shaped like a wallaby, anyway. She also has really powerful hind legs that she sometimes stands on, and she hops around. But one cute animal story just does not make up for the rest of the bad stuff on AOL, and I don't want to support it with my patronage any longer, so I decided to find a new ISP. Well, a new ISP I have found, in the form of BowieNet, which is cheaper and way cooler than AOL, and it affords me the opportunity to have such a cool email address it cannot be expressed in words. I'm really into my identity as the Goblin Queen (the role I would have liked to have, um, enacted in Labyrinth given my fascination with Jareth as a six-year-old). I also considered youhavenopoweroverme@davidbowie.com, but I decided goblinqueen was better for a number of reasons. Obviously it's shorter, but there are others. Youhavenopoweroverme has the whole defiant thing going on, but I never especially wanted Jareth to be defied. It's also just a quote. But with goblinqueen, I create a character who did not exist in the movie--I'm carving out an imaginary niche for myself in an imaginary world. The Goblin Queen is still a powerful figure; she reigns dually over the realms of empowered femininity and gratified desire. And the great thing is, having it both ways was what Labyrinth was all about (pun retroactively intended). It's not one of those bullshit click your heels, choose home and hearth and the world turns black and white flicks--no, Jennifer Connelly stands up to Jareth, gets her kid brother back, but this choice doesn't mean she has to give up her fantasy world; all the furballs show up in her room at the end. So in true binary smashing, liminal space occupying, fuck that old virgin/whore dynamic style (i.e. Labyrinth's style), I have made myself goblinqueen@davidbowie.net. I'm so giddy.
Okay, here it is, my first blog!

I want to say that this is a blog-in-progress, but that seems redundant, because a blog that was not in progress would be a boring blog indeed. What I mean to say is that I'm just beginning to experiment with this format, and I think I will have to ease into it before I manage to be consistently interesting. So I'm not going to advertise this blog much at first, even to my friends, but just quietly type along until I'm sure I've created something worth reading.

Why I decided to start a blog: I have lots to say. I know a lot of people have lots to say, and many of those people are under the illusion that what they have to say is worthwhile. I'm one of them. I have no further defense than that. For years now, the email format has been my method of self expression (my record for length of a single email: 90K), but I recently discovered the blog format through Tapped and other political blogs. It seemed to make sense for me. I wouldn't have to send out emails anymore. If people wanted to hear what I had to say, they could come to me. If they didn't, they could stay away. And perhaps by broadcasting to the internet masses, I will interest someone other than my circle of friends, or perhaps not. The one disadvantage is that it's impossible, with a blog, to finely tune the degree of privacy of your posts (the way you can with an email). I'm sure I'll have to wrestle with this at some point, because I have perennial trouble sorting out what should be private and what should be public (and how public). I'm always making confessions that I regret. Stuff like that. Which brings me to the question of...

What will be in this blog: I've become much more politically engaged in the past six months or so than I was during my entire time in college or high school. I think that's because, while I'm a pretty staunch liberal, I tend to react against my environment, and if people around me universally take one view, I instinctively want to take the other. This meant that when I lived in a very conservative, half-Catholic, half-Born Again, farm town-cum-bedroom community in the hot and featureless San Joaquin Valley, from the fifth through the ninth grade, I was a politically passionate person. I loved inciting controversy, although the ways I managed to do so demonstrated something about the politics and intellectual sophistication of the town: when I wrote and read a commentary on my junior high's daily video news program condemning Ellie Nessler for killing her child's accused molester, I provoked an uproar, and even our school's D.A.R.E. officer told me, "That guy got what he deserved." Gotta love that D.A.R.E. for instilling respect for the rule of law. (When it was revealed she had a drug history, she lost her vigilante hero status). But when I moved to a very left wing town and attended a very left wing public high school, and later when I went to a left wing college, my naturally reactive nature bristled against the homogenous political culture, but I wasn’t really enthused about becoming a right-wing partisan either, so I just became mostly apolitical. Now that I’m in New York, which is, yes, a left-leaning city but obviously much less insular than my high school or my college, and the internet connects me to all the people I could ever possibly want to disagree with, I’m feeling much more politically engaged. I cried when Paul Wellstone died. That said, I will probably comment on politics in this blog. I often feel, however, that others are much more qualified than I to make firm pronouncements on matters of policy. I am well aware of the ignorance that disqualifies me as an authority on, well, just about anything. But what does really get my goat is gross failures of reason and logic, and “dirty-tricks” rhetoric rather than honest, fair discussion. I’m sure I’ll remark on that kind of thing frequently.
As I said above, I’m pretty open about my personal life (perhaps too much so), so I’m sure I’ll be writing about my little dramas. If I ever have sex ever again, I’ll have a lot to say about my relationship (in the past, it’s been boy-related traumas that have been the wellspring for the longest emails). In this event, I’ll have to figure out how to password-protect my blog, I suppose.
I like to read and watch movies (and occasionally see plays). I often have opinions about them. I will relate these opinions. Books are one of the few things I do think I’m able to have at least somewhat authoritative opinions about. I think I know good writing from bad. Perhaps I might even embark on mini efforts at lit-crit, as I was an English major in college, and you can take the girl out of the English department, but…well, you know the rest. Sometimes my lit-crit efforts will extend to song lyrics.
Sometimes I am a wee bit creative, and I write things. I might include some better examples of these efforts. Or I might include a photo of a fabulously carved pumpkin (I carved a Saddam Hussein pumpkin this year), or scanned drawings, or whatever. It’s my blog! As I said, I’m just beginning to experiment.