More on defining gender identity.
About three years ago, actress and playwright Marielle Heller adapted Phoebe Gloeckner’s raw and unflinching Diary of a Teenage Girl for the stage, and now she has posted what appears to be a teaser trailer for a film version!
The story revolves around 15-year-old Minnie Goetze, who lives in San Francisco in the 1970s, emerging from a neglectful homelife into an out-of-control haze of adolescent confusion and self-discovery, involving sex, drugs, street life, and suicidal feelings.
Gloeckner is one of my favorite artists, though I have trouble reading even her short stories due to the intense relationship I feel towards her characters, all of whom suffer abuse of one form or another (so trigger warnings abound!). Sean T. Collins recently posted an unpublished interview with Gloeckner from 2003 where they discuss how she handles a lot of upsetting material in a way that doesn’t sensationalize it. Which, in my opinion, is what makes it so upsetting. It is nigh impossible to keep emotional distance from a Phoebe Gloeckner story—it is just too real. In addition, her art style, due to her training as an anatomical artist, is very realistic, making the characters come to life in the reader’s mind far more intensely than most other artist.
Collins also discusses how her work is almost totally ignored by the comics establishment except in the context of “women in comics”. While this is less true now than it was in 2003, I agree that Gloeckner is still criminally underappreciated, in far too small a proportion given her talent. Hopefully this film will help correct that oversight and bring her work both comics and mainstream attention.
In conjunction with his review of the PBS documentary Philip Roth: Unmasked, our critic John Powers offers this list of his Roth favorites with brief commentary on each:
I could easily suggest 20 books that I think well worth anyone’s time, but here are my favorites (in chronological order):
Goodbye, Columbus (1959): Although less strong than what follows below, here’s where it all began. Roth hadn’t yet fully found his voice, but even in his mid-20s, the quality of his perceptions was dazzling.
Portnoy’s Complaint (1969): Gleefully obscene, this zeitgeist-rocking novel about masturbation, sex, and Jewish family life is one of the funniest books in the language.
The Ghost Writer (1979): The opening volume of the great Zuckerman Bound tetralogy, this novel introduces us to Roth’s best and most frequent alter ego, Nathan Zuckerman, who gets involved with a literary lion a la Isaac Bashevis Singer and a girl who might secretly be someone very famous.
The Counterlife (1986): As intricately crafted as a Faberge music box, this brilliant piece of meta-fiction finds Zuckerman and his dentist brother Henry grappling with huge questions – not just life and death, but the state of Israel.
Patrimony: A True Story (1991): The most bleakly touching of his books, this memoir presents the story of the life and death of his father Herman Roth with a gaze that is loving but unsparing.
Operation Shylock: A Confession (1993): The real (meaning fictionalized) Philip Roth is haunted by a Philip Roth impersonator who’s traveling around Israel ruining his good name – naturally Roth winds up involved with an intelligence mission.
Sabbath’s Theater (1995) Perhaps the greatest of his novels (if not the most beloved), this is the riveting story of Mickey Sabbath, an unemployed puppeteer with a libido the size of the Statue of Liberty. Funny and hard-edged, this radical book is an apache dance between eros and death.
American Pastoral (1997): The first and best novel of his history cycle (which includes I Married a Communist, The Human Stain and The Plot Against America) this is the moving story of a good man destroyed by what happened in America during the 1960s, from the Vietnam War to the kids driven mad by it.
Portrait of Philip Roth by Oscar Mitt
There was definitely a point in my poorly-informed youth where I was insistent that a joke could be made about rape, that there was one in there somewhere. There isn’t, and this article really drove that point home. Especially poignant was the focus on the parenting of boys, and not just teaching our daughters to be careful, but teaching our sons NOT TO RAPE. Great point. And there is no funny in there to be had. Only horror and disgust.
everyone is gay: "Does it make me less of a lesbian to like strap ons? So much gay panic you guys :("
-Question submitted by Anonymous
I wish people would lay off this theory already! Everyone likes different things when it comes to sexi time, and none of those things exclusively determine a human’s sexuality.
Sit back and think of all the reasons you like…
Great responses guys. I think you hit it on the head. I can do whatever I want when it comes to sexi time without it changing who or what I am irl. I know a kid who like to watch porn with morbidly obese women shoveling food into their mouths. It doesn’t make him fat. Just saying.
On Saturday, Krista Tippett interviewed New York poet laureate Marie Howe in the beautiful old library at the College of Saint Benedict under the watchful eyes of the Virgin Mary (Salve Regina). Can’t wait to produce this show for On Being.
Photo by Trent Gilliss
Marie was my teacher in grad school and probably—together with Stephen Dobyns—the one that made me the poet I am today. Super congrats to her for being poet laureate. <3
Cuz we all look the same and share the same DNA, leading back to one super-lesbian.
Great short article on the difference between transsexual/transgender biology versus biology, which is to say that there is a difference between having x and y chromosomes and the things those chromosomes end up coding for.