Monday, December 21, 2009

The Pleasures of Reading, Viewing, and Listening in 2009, Pt. 11: Rebecca Ore

What I’ve been watching, reading, looking at in 2009 – or not
by Rebecca Ore

One book I haven’t read keeps coming up in various contexts, from The Valve (an English faculty blog with a certain tolerance of science fiction) to my own observations of the weirdnesses of the intersection of aesthetic tastes and class: Pierre Bourdieu’s Distinction. I’ve got it on the must-buy list when I either decide to put in a Powell’s order or when I find it at a local bookstore.

Otherwise, I’ve been looking at a lot of photography, both on line and in books, which may not be the ideal way to see it: Annie Leibovitz, Henri Cartier Bresson, Imogene Cunningham. And I’ve been reading in Ansel Adam’s The Camera, The Negative, and The Print. And taking my own pictures.

I’ve also been reading the Belle de Jour blogs and watching the British television program spun off from it. The divergence between what appears to have been the reality of the woman and the t.v. version is telling. While Dr. Brooke Magnanti claimed in the blog not to have been sexually abused by a relative and while this is factually correct, her parents weren’t happily married in the North of England, but were divorced Americans, and the reality sounds not as sweet as the slant given it. The T.V. show made Belle a liberal arts major, one of the hapless ones who can’t get good jobs; Dr. Magnanti was working on her dissertation and was able to program as well as whore. Sex worker with brains. There’s also Dr. Magnanti’s current work on an all female research team. I understand that many more women enroll in British medical schools than do in the US, so perhaps an all woman research team is more normal there than here. It might mean more here than there that she was working on an all female team.

Women supposedly have two other options to standard work – marriage or whoredom. I’m still not sure what Magnanti’s choices imply for the rest of us. She was obviously able to deal with the issues, but has a strain of defensiveness that may be understandable, but comes across as more aggressive than perhaps necessary.
Other than that, I’ve been taking pictures.

Rebecca Ore’s fiction burst upon the world in 1988 with the publication of her celebrated Becoming Alien trilogy, the first two novels of which were nominated for the Philip K. Dick Award. Since then she’s published a great deal of short fiction and numerous novels, including Gaia’s Toys, Time’s Child, Outlaw School, Slow Funeral, the short fiction collection, Alien Bootlegger, and from Aqueduct Press, Alien Bootlegger (a reprint of the novella) and Centuries Ago and Very Fast, a collection of linked short stories.

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