Desirability Politics

It’s been a year of writing my dissertation and not updating my blog, but I think I might be able to get one in before the year (/decade?) ends. One of the things I’ve found most interesting my study of sidewalk interactions is a reflection of what the mechanism is, while I have my theoretical framework, that an interaction revolves around participant profile, bias, location and interaction type, I think fundamentally it’s about attraction. Do you want to spend more time with someone? Be closer to them? This is another way of asking whether or not you’re attracted to them. There are other reasons why you might want or need to talk to someone but I keep coming back to attraction because it’s in the word definition. If you feel are leading a fairly frictionless urban walk (you’re not in a rush and are free to go wherever you want,) who do you veer towards and who do you veer away from? There are reasons to talk to someone other than sexual attraction, but I think interest is a form of attraction. Whether you’re attracted to that type of interaction (you say hello and make eye-contact with everyone), that type of person (someone you see every day?).

I’ve been following a twitter discussion on desirability politics which I think is similar. In that cis, white, able-bodied, thin, conventionally attractive people get treated better in the US. Socio-economic status can often be inferred through clothes, accessories and other accoutrements. In my study aspects of desirability politics are noted as well as a measure of proximity. Neither leads to very strong conclusions but more interesting questions.

Women I Admire: Sissy Spacek

I always say that in the movie of my life I would want to be played by Sissy Spacek. Many people don’t get it, she looks nothing like me, I know, I’m black, and she’s white. But as a minority, I don’t have the luxury of a huge selection of people in movies who look like me. But more importantly, I don’t think it would matter, Sissy is a queen and I’m sure she would find a way to play me anyway, black or not.

Why do I identify so much with her? Like most actors, I identify more with her characters on screen, than her real life, (which I don’t know a whole lot about except that she has been married to the same man for 40 years, which is a triumph in and of itself). I first saw her as Carrie, the ultimate revenge fantasy for a high school misfit (actually, don’t tell anyone but I saw Carrie 2 first, it came out when I was having a rough time in Middle School). I also loved her in Badlands, where she played an adventuresome prairie girl, who takes up with a charming stranger and goes on a violent crime spree in the heartland. In 3 Women, she plays the awkward and demure character of Pinky, who has a nervous breakdown and changes drastically as the movie goes on. I could go on, but I won’t.

In her personal upbringing, Sissy Spacek was a self-described tomboy. Her character Holly turned into a bit of a tomboy, after learning to shoot a gun, but she also played the very feminine Pinky and Loretta Lynn. She’s played introverts and extroverts, Type As, type Bs and everything in between. What strikes me about Spacek is her ability to be sensitive without seeming frail on incapable. When I picture a sensitive person, I think of Sissy Spacek.

I tend to fall into the trap of thinking that actors are bad people. As an introvert, I don’t have a huge amount of respect for extroverts, but actors are some of the worst it seems, because they feed on the love and energy of others, and they make their living lying. Sissy Spacek almost makes me think that actors may not be so bad.

Ugh

Two weeks without a post. Sry reader(s), I went out of town and then had to catch up on work. I have a couple longer blogposts coming, but in the meantime, you can:

Read this Bad Machinery Story
Listen to this Chicks with Hits Mix
Do any number of other things, I’m going to bed.

“I want to believe,”–the mantra that Fox Mulder has pinned to his office wall in The X-Files–applies in different ways to these two companies; Mac partisans want to believe in the image of Apple purveyed in … ads, and in the notion that Macs are somehow fundamentally different from other computers, while Windows people want to believe that they are getting something for their money, engaging in a respectable business transaction.

Neal Stephenson, from In the Beginning was the Command Line, as true today as it was 13 years ago.