Wednesday, July 27, 2011

In praise of clarity

It's a clear, shiny day here in Edmonton, blessed, even, with my favorite range of daytime temperatures-- in the sixties, F., that is. I'm particularly happy today because I just spent a couple of hours here, at a coffee shop called Transcend (that makes a first-class latte), working on a story I started in early May. I'm probably going to move on to the public library next, where I spent a few hours yesterday, mostly editing and composing yesterday's post. I've decided the striking birds I mentioned in that post may be related to the Belted Kingfisher, which I occasionally see at the Fill in Seattle. It's call is a sort of rattling chatter, which reminds me of the Belted Kingfisher, though the shape of its head definitely nor its comfortableness around humans does not. I should probably hunt down a bird book (the ideal subtitle of which would be "A Definitive Guide to the Birds of Alberta") while I'm at the library.

I see, on the Feminist SF blog, that Naamen G. Tilahun has been diving deep into the work of Joanna Russ. I'd like to boost the signal on his first post on the subject, Remembering Joanna Russ--Part I. His discussion begins with the powerful, always disturbing We Who Are About To... I'm particularly pleased to see that unlike so many critics and reviewers, he doesn't claim that the narrator murders everyone else in the book, wholesale. For me, that characterization, which is so common, must be taken as an indication that the critic was unable to process what actually happens in the story, such that their affective response so clouds their perceptions that they can't rationally grasp the facts conveyed by the narrator (who is less unreliable than most). One could argue that the distinction, in itself, isn't that important, but I'd argue that as index of reading clarity, it's absolutely telling. In any case, Naamen's reading is clear-minded and expansive rather than foreclosing. Do go read it if you haven't already.

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