When I saw him look at me with lust, I dropped my eyes but, in glancing away from him, I caught sight of myself in the mirror. And I saw myself, suddenly, as he saw me, my pale face, the way the muscles in my neck stuck out like thin wire. I saw how much that cruel necklace became me. And, for the first time in my innocent and confined life, I sensed in myself a potentiality for corruption that took my breath away

November 29, 2013 § Leave a comment

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Rowlandson’s The Sovereignty and Goodness of God was originally published in Boston, then in London, in 1682.  The text recounts Rowlandson’s eleven week captivity among a band of united Indian tribes from New England in 1675, during King Phillip’s War.  The book went through three editions in its first year alone, becoming the first bestselling work published in the British American colonies.  Since its fifth edition in 1720, the story of Rowlandson’s captivity has never been out of print in the United States.

A large portion of the text outlines Rowlandson’s relationship with God through the lens of her captivity, and affliction is a concept that runs throughout her writing. Affliction, as it is conceived within a religious context, deals mainly with the belief that God tests the chosen and the faithful in order to reinforce an individual’s reliance on religious conviction. Puritans like Rowlandson, who adhered to a Calvinistic model of Protestantism, considered affliction a blessing from God as it offered proof of God’s concern for a person.

In her last paragraph, Rowlandson explicitly connects her captive experience with the idea of affliction. She closes her text by writing:

Before I knew what affliction meant, I was ready to sometimes wish for it. When I lived in prosperity […] I should be sometimes jealous least I should have my portion in this life, and the Scripture would come to my mind, Heb, 12.6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every Son whom he receiveth. But now I see the Lord had his time to scourge and chasten me.  The portion of some is to have their afflictions by drops, now one drop then another; but the dregs of the Cup, the Wine of astonishment: like a sweeping rain that leaveth no food, did the Lord prepare for my portion.  Affliction I wanted, and affliction I had, full measure (I thought) pressed down and running over; yet I see, when God calls a Person to any thing, and through never so many difficulties, yet he is fully able to carry them through and make them see, and say they have been gainers thereby.  And I hope I can say in some measure, as David did, It is good for me that I have been afflicted.

While she positions herself as thankful for her relationship with God throughout her captivity, this argues that she and her readers should view her past pain as a blessing. She wanted affliction at one point in her life and it was given to her in spades, which makes her feel more knowledgeable and superior for having suffered. The status of this text would suggest others felt the same.  read more

ART: Clyfford Still

“Have you decorated?” “No, Madame, I have moved.”

August 6, 2013 § Leave a comment

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This is cinema for the post-theatrical era. And people complained that the film was going to go straight to video. Well, we said: “Let’s make something that’s not for theaters.” It will have a theatrical release. But it’s going to have day-and-date. The whole motif of the derelict movie theaters was there right from the beginning.

Bret has this post-Empire idea. He believes that American artists are now in their post-Empire period. Like the Brits were in the previous century. So we’re making art out of the remains of our empire. The junk that’s left over. And this idea of a film that was crowd-funded, cast online, with one actor from celebrity culture, one actor from adult-film culture, a writer and director who have gotten beaten up in the past—felt like a post-Empire thing. And then everything I was afraid of with Lindsay and James started to become a positive. I was afraid we wouldn’t be taken seriously and people would think it’s a joke. My son and my daughter didn’t want me to do it. This just shows you how conservative young kids are. Because they thought it would be embarrassing and a disaster.

The number-one fact of the new low-budget cinema is that it is no longer impossible to get your film financed, but it is impossible to get anybody to see it. Because there are 10,000 people doing the same thing you’re doing, right now. And which one of those 10,000 films is anybody going to see? Fifteen thousand films get submitted to Sundance, 100 or so get shown, eight get picked up, and two make money. Those are the economics. But Bret and I have some cachet. We were in with four different sub-groups of interested people: people who are interested in me, people who are interested in Bret, people who are interested in Lindsay, and people who are interested in James. Lindsay has four million [Twitter] followers, and James has half a million. Bret has 250,000.

How do you see your career in light of your experience on this film?

I went to the casino, I put it all on red, and it came up red. We got lucky with this one. We got lucky with James, we got lucky with Lindsay. We got lucky with the noise factor. When you’re pitching a movie, that’s the question they ask: is it going to make noise? Are you going to hear this above the din of the avalanche of film productions? And if the idea has noise, then they are interested in it. And this idea had noise. Some of it by design, some of it by luck. That’s why I went to Bret, because if it was the two of us together it was going to make noise.

Obviously, Lindsay didn’t have a problem with James Deen.

Oh yes, she did.  read more

ART: Robert Kushner

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