private distribution

Vintage Postcard 1930′s

The postcard is from the 1930′s. It dates back to a time when Europe disregarded ethnic and tribal boundaries to divided Africa up into colonies where land and people were exploited.

More adult oriented postcards from the era that were distributed privately among like minded individuals were more risque than the above card. In their depictions of same-sex behavior, typically shown were African males with huge sexual appendages dominating willing European males. In gay mainstream and general mainstream media, there is a phobia of showing men of African descent romantically involved with one another; and, few are willing to challenge the phobia.

The postcard above is evidently different in what it shows. The card is non-erotic. All the subjects in the card are African. In the midst of largely heterosexual couplings, one gay couple is featured prominently holding hands as they lovingly look at one another without so much as a disapproving glance from the straight couples.

Same-sex relationships in Africa is nothing new as anthropological and ethnographic observations predating European colonialism reveal. There once was a time when same-sex behavior was accepted as part of the larger arc of human expression and not frowned upon. Same-sex behavior could be accepted and even valued in Africa’s many ethnic tribes. Under the intellectual and Judo-Christian influences of a Europe claiming to have only the best interest of the people always in mind, much of this acceptance and valuation disappeared. .

After the colonial powers left, much of Africa chose to keep foreign customs or laws morally frowning or criminalizing same-sex desiring folk. Observed and oral histories that were evidence of a tolerance or an outright full embracing of same-sex desiring behavior became largely denied and forgotten to be replaced by the intolerable homophobia that make for today’s headline news around the world in a now “free” Africa.

In our world, there are two types of crazy girls, exemplified by Blair Waldorf and Serena Van der Woodsen from the book and television series, Gossip Girl. There’s the high-strung, high achieving, pill popping, bulimic control freak in Blair, and there’s the manic, borderline unreal, beautifully free, wild child with some very real problems in Serena. When writing about Lana this week, I’ve been thinking a lot about the conception of the “crazy girl” because people have been calling me crazy for as long as I remember. First in elementary school when I was really good at multiplication facts to the point I had to sit out during math competitions for candy, then in high school where my very private journal was accidentally distributed to the masses, and even in college when I couldn’t take the blame for what wasn’t my fault like good girls ought to do. I get so worried about being crazy, so perhaps that’s proof I’m as sane as can be. In my life, I’ve been forced to be more self-aware than any 20 year old ought to be, and I’m learning to accept it in addition to understanding it.

On one hand, I’m the prototypical Blair Waldorf; I refuse to show cleavage in public because it makes me uncomfortable, I base too much of my worth on my academic and social achievements, and I would rather stick pins in my eyes than be caught wearing yoga pants in public. But there’s one major difference between Blair and I- I’m not bulimic at all. The subliminal difference between anorexia and bulimia is that bulimia is about gaining control over ourselves in relation to the world around while anorexia is more complex but also simpler; it’s basically saying “I’m here, I want to be seen, and I am not okay.” In other words, anorexia is the extrovert’s eating disorder, all about restraining yourself in a way that it seems almost accidental, not eating as a lifestyle and then binging when your body almost collapses. It feels wild and free and real but it’s about control just as much as bulimia is; it’s about getting into a battle with ourselves in relation to ourselves, playing chicken to see just how far you can go before falling. Eating disorders are a public example of what it means to be crazy as a young woman, and that is the sort of crazy Serena Van der Woodsen and Lana del Rey’s “Ride” are all about.

There’s a certain freedom in freefall. You aren’t hanging off the edge of a precipice, about to fall into a sea of sharks, holding on with just a thread; you’ve lost your grip and now are swimming in the ocean rescued by mermaids and making friends with the sharks you were so afraid would eat you. The worst is better than you could have ever imagined. The Lana of “Ride” has ostensibly let go, and is free as she can ever be, post National Anthem idyllic, and she doesn’t have to pretend for anybody or anything. Really, she’s great. In other words, she’s the Serena van der Woodsen, beautiful and reckless in a way that makes people forget her pain. Why wouldn’t she be drinking until the morning light- that’s just who she is, why is she so alone, away from everybody who’s ever really loved her, why does she keep on riding to nowhere? This girl is deemed just as crazy as her friend who used to take care her, who’d never dare be caught in such a state in public because she’s a WASP, they don’t shout, they meticulously tear down their enemies with wit and vigor. Their hair is never that long and out of control, but the problem is, she’s collapsing just as much as the other girl who’s now losing it in every single way imaginable.

How does the story end? Nobody really knows because ideally, this girl is supposed to die and only exist in the voice of self-insert white boys who believe she’s taught them about life and love in a way that nobody else could. I messed up that narrative by becoming obsessed with my own survival; part of the reason that I write is that I require myself to be both muse and musee in one. I’m small and doll-like and poetic in my misery in a way that attracts a bevy of suitors intent on making me something different than what I am, but I’m also independent and resilient in a way that I’m not allowed to be, and demand to tell my own story because first and foremost, I believe it is a story worth hearing.

On the Myers Briggs scale, I’m borderline introverted and extroverted; on one hand, I shut down, keeping my nose clean, doing my homework, and avoiding conflict until it’s irresistible to me, but on the other, I let everybody know who I am, what I’m doing, and demand that they care. I am writing this piece and this whole week for that matter for the girl who is written about because she deserves to be listened to. The Daisy Buchanan, the Daisy Miller, the Lana del Rey, the Serena Van der Woodsen, the Alaska Young, young women whose voices are lost in the narrative, and it needs to stop because it’s just not fair. They should be allowed to feel crazy and wild and free and out of control and everything else that their male counterparts like old Dean Moriarty experience and still be seen as legitimate subjects of their stories instead of objects to be pontificated upon. I am learning to keep the moments where I lose my mind to myself so people don’t hurt me in an unfixable way; the issue with being mostly a Blair is that nobody believes you really need help until it’s too late and so, I need to save myself and I always will.

u all know im usually aggressively pro-bootlegs bc of the general inaccessibility of broadway (and west end) theatre but with hamilton i feel like lmm has actually tried really hard to make the show as accessible as possible to people who can’t see it for financial or geographical or ticket availability reasons. like we have a cast recording that includes the entire show save for one scene and it’s available to stream for free, the #ham4ham shows give extra glimpses into the show, for people that are geographically close to nyc the lotto system gives you a chance of getting $10 tickets, etc etc etc

and i 100% understand that that’s not the same as seeing the show like. i’m broke and living in england, the chances of me getting to actually see hamilton on bway (especially with the current cast) are slim to none. and honestly i feel w my general stance on bootlegs it would be hypocritical for me to say “don’t even privately watch + distribute hamilton bootlegs” although i am genuinely really uncomfortable with it in this case bc lmm and other creatives involved in hamilton are doing a lot to make this show available to as many people as possible. but i guess if you do want to privately share around this bootleg for people who can’t see hamilton irl you’re free to do that

but i think, especially with lmm’s heavy social media presence + engagement with the fandom, it’s actually ridiculously unwise to make content based on these bootlegs and spread it around like. we all know lin is an incredibly clever guy, he’s going to be able to tell if the content you’ve created is from a part of the show that hasn’t been made publicly available. and i think it’s just kinda disrespectful because he’s talked personally about how he doesn’t want boots of the show going around so i mean? if you are going to circulate bootlegs of the show at least maybe don’t wave it in his face because frankly that could affect his willingness to engage with the fandom in the future

So fucking sick of all these people comparing the Orlando Bloom nude pictures to female celebrities getting their personal nude pictures leaked. I’ve seen so many people saying 

“You’re gross for looking up the Orlando pictures and defending women when their nudes are leaked.”

But that’s the thing, isn’t it? female celebrities have their pictures LEAKED. PRIVATE PICTURES STOLEN OFF THEIR PHONES/COMPUTERS/ETC.

Orlando chose to go nude in a public setting. Is it gross for strangers to take pictures of him and sell them to the media? Yep. Is it the same as a woman’s privacy being violated and her private nude pictures being distributed? Nope.