Monday, November 21, 2011

European Tour Announced!

Exit, No Exit

Sean Patrick Mulroy and Jade Sylvan tour Europe

This January, American poets Sean Patrick Mulroy (New York) and Jade Sylvan (Boston) will embark on a European tour, performing their work to the multi-lingual literary crowds in the vibrantly budding spoken-word scenes of the E.U.

Over the past half-decade, Sean and Jade have each earned reputations as two of the most original and hardest working new artists to appear in spoken word.

Sean Patrick Mulroy is the author of The Pornography Diaries, a poetic study of love and sex as seen through the lens of media studies and film analysis, as well as a multi-media one-man show by the same name. He has toured extensively in North America and has participated in over 10 national poetry competitions.

Jade Sylvan is the author of The Spark Singer (Spuyten Duyvil Press 2009). She has toured with her work throughout the U.S., earning acclaim for her unique voice and attention to craft. She has facilitated numerous workshops on writing and teaching poetry across the country, and in 2011 she co-founded Mass LEAP (Massachusetts Literary Education and Performance), an organization to increase youth poetry opportunities in Greater Boston.

Exit, No Exit (yes, that’s a Sartre reference -- Sean’s an escapist and Jade’s a frustratedly anachronistic existentialist) tour dates include stops in Barcelona, Amsterdam, Reims, Dijon, and Paris.

A Tour Kickoff and Fundraiser performance will be held Friday, December 30th, at Gallery 263 in Cambridge, MA, with bands Gracious Calamity and ACLU Benefit.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

You Are Racist, Classist, and Xenophobic

This article was circling around my (very educated, well-read) Facebook network last week to much shock and appall. Apparently a holy man in India (yeah, one guy) has developed an unusual cure for sickness in infants that involves standing on them like so:

Here's the awesome non-generalizing, not-in-any-way racist commentary from the article:

"Although an isolated incident, it serves as a grim reminder of the dangerous religious traditions observed by many Hindus in India, many of which are done so for the health of their children."

This admittedly more visually-disturbing photo was used as the lead-in image for the article:

With this quote:

"When asked about [his methods], the guru claimed that he was merely speaking for God, and as such needs no other defense."

Way to diverge attention away from what's actually makes this a more visually unsettling image than the one above it. That baby is fucking starving. Oh yeah, poverty, first-world people. Like, actual poverty. That's sort of like that one time you were in college and had to live off ramen for a week so you could afford to buy weed, except instead of ramen it's your children dying and instead of weed it's your children dying.

Then the article segues seamlessly into a YouTube video of another crazy brown-person Voodoo ritual:

Nevermind that there have been no fatalities associated with this tradition, or that our infallible, forward-thinking Western medical system has a rich history of performing plenty of superstitious rituals on our own infants (check out the mortality rates of neonatal circumcision if you really want to throw up in your mouth), this is just some straight up racist, Orientalizing, Imperialist "Other"-gawking. "OMG look at those crazy brown people and their stupid polytheist, idolatrous traditions! Thank God (and by 'God,' we mean Jehovah, obv.) we have SCIENCE and deodorant. And we can like, outsource our shitty jobs to them and pay them $1.50 an hour and send our spoiled white sons and daughters on post-college month-long backpacking trips through their impoverished villages to 'discover themselves' and buy cheap drugs and silk saris so they can be super interesting and well-traveled at cocktail parties one day. Whoops, I'm late for yoga class!"

One of the posters in the dark abyss that is YouTube comments section actually calls the people in this video "savages." This is one of the comments voted all the way up to the top. Wow, I didn't realize Rudyard Kipling had Wifi on safari. And space-time-transcendent Wifi at that. It really is the future!

Honestly, until we're all making active steps to get modern healthcare/science/fucking food and clean water into the world's thousands of impoverished, parochial 4th world villages, I don't think we have any right to judge the rituals, procedures, and/or tools they've developed deal with disease, famine, and the myriad other unavoidable aspects of human existence.

In conclusion, before you recirculate an article on a social media site, please ask yourself, "Does posting this make me look like a Racist, Classist, or Xenophobic Ignoramus?" If the answer is, "Yes," "Possibly," or "What's 'classism?'" maybe hold off.

See you all in yoga class, everyone! As soon as I get my $90 yoga pants back from the Asians I pay to do my laundry.

Monday, November 7, 2011

I'm Fucking Fat

I'm not fucking fat. I look like this:

J.S. circa 2011

But I feel fat. All the time. It's fucked up that I feel fat all the time, and everything around us, including myself and my relationship to everything around us, is fucked up for making me feel that way.

I was a fat kid. Well, relatively chubby. I was teased a lot, wore overalls every day, and thought I would never, ever be lovable because of how I looked. The chubbiness was a phase I grew out of. The mindset was not.

J.S. circa 1992

Now, I practice yoga every day. I bike ride and hike. I eat very well, with tons of organic vegetables, homemade meals and such. I don't overeat (usually), but I enjoy food. A lot.

I am thick with muscle. I can pick myself up onto my hands and extend my legs into the sky. I know I'm in better shape that 95% of people in America. But I still think I'm fucking fat.

I was in a retail situation (like, getting clothes from a real store with dressing rooms and everything as opposed to the usual sacks of discarded clothes I find on the sidewalk or hand-me-downs from friends) and I was absolutely appalled by my body in the mirror. Dimples, everywhere! Malleable white flesh covering up all those ab muscles! My brain was a whirlpool of fat-girl shame for the rest of the day.

At my absolute skinniest, about 128lbs, I look like this:

I have only ever been this skinny three times in my adult life. All of them involved depression and amphetamines. I do not look like this now.

I like beer, and cake, and pizza. These preclude my body type from looking like I do up there. But even when I'm enjoying the shit out of a milk stout and thin crust I still obsess over what I eat, EVEN IN THE MOMENT WHEN I'M EATING IT. It sucks.

Feeling fat is not cool. It's a #whitegirlproblem. Everyone knows white girls' problems are funny and not to be taken seriously, because we have no REAL problems, right? I mean, all of our daddies bought us new Porsches when we turned 16 and then we all joined sororities where we developed HILARIOUS cases of bulemia. (You mean you, like, eat food and then throw it up? Like, on purpose? OMG why would anyone do that? That's CRAZY! Lolz.)

If you are a woman in America, you probably have a fucked-up relationship with food. You're supposed to be thin, obviously, because otherwise you're an utterly useless slob, but god forbid you care about being thin. Then you're the vain Wicked Queen talking to herself in the looking glass like a crazy person as opposed to the benignly chaste and obliviously lovely Snow White. Disney movies have taught us girls what an unforgivable sin trying to be beautiful is. It's almost as bad as being fat and ugly. Just kidding, nothing's worse than that.

Oishii da yo!

The most desirable type of relationship a woman can have with food in mainstream culture is Sailor Moon's. This girl has the metabolism of a hummingbird, is swizzle-stick slim, yet constantly and compulsively stuffs her face with abandon. She's super-skinny, but doesn't TRY to be skinny at all. Everyone knows women who care how they look and diet or work out too much are stupid shallow bitches, because how a woman looks doesn't affect how she's judged and treated by society and her peers at all.

I'm not meaning to be super gynocentric here. I know a ton of men are probably just as fucked-up foodwise as are I and my XX-chromosomed comrades. My male roommate, Dr. Manhattan, who is a scientist and may therefore be cited as A SOURCE, told me the other night while we were drinking beer and eating pizza that studies of high-school age kids are showing that men are now competing with women in the Who Fucking Hates Their Bodies the Most pageant. So hooray for that.

Then our friend Kate came over. Kate is skinny. Fashion-model skinny. Sailor Moon skinny. She cracked open a beer and I told her about my dressing room horrors.

Then, much to my surprise, fourteen-year-old-boy-skinny Kate said, "Yeah, I feel fucking fat every time I go in a dressing room, too. I have these dimples everywhere. It's gross."


Why can't we just stop? I don't mean just stop obsessing over losing weight or staying skinny, but stop being so fucking focused on the way our bodies look in general. Stop being so concerned with the eating habits of your our skinny coworkers. Stop being "empowered" to wear a bikini when our thighs rub together. Stop buying fucking yogurt.

I don't care if you're fat or skinny, thinking about your weight for more than ten minutes a day is simply a big fucking waste of time. I mean, with climate change and healthcare debates and the Occupy Movement, don't we have more important things to do with our lives?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

MPTJ hits the ground running

It's official. Steve has started to send out the book proposal of More Popular Than Jesus: The Beatles and the Mythology of Rock to agents and publishers. There's been some initial interest from small presses, but we've yet to send it to the biggest people and places. We set up a super-cool website here:

This is going to be a long process. Let the games begin.