AVANT-GARDE SCULPTURES I HAVE LATELY MADE
A steam shovel that’s an actual shovel made of steam
An app that’s just an arrow that points to which of you is being the asshole
A cocktail made out of laughter, but if you drink more than a sip you will definitely puke
A fourth dimension, which is idiocy. Point, line, square, cube, cube that is an idiot
A nightmare in which nobody can speak besides you but in the end you’re like, “this is wonderful”
The Greek god of pitying anyone who thinks better of you than you think of yourself
A t-shirt whose front says “make me feel special” and whose back says “not that special”
A chipped tooth
A scale model of the post office in heaven, with you waiting in line, forever
Shoutout to all the palest palest legs on Broadway, in their sunblind short-shorted glory
Shoutout to fake intimacy and clumsy street-style bloggers
Shoutout to mystifying taxi routes and Liz from Ipswitch
Shoutout to the syllable we’re both thinking of screaming
Shoutout to carpal tunnel and carpal bridge
This one’s for all the babies with fresh molars and the interns with cantankerous attitudes
This one’s for every wallet that’s ever hidden a dirty picture in the lining
This one’s for medium-sized government and DIY chemtrails
This one’s for when you’re ill but your aunt’s sick
This goes out to every dimple that never even considered living on a face
This goes out to the way salesmen in fancy department stores lean rakishly on counters and smile over their territory
This is for lost followers and strip clubs without liquor licenses
This is for when you would tape Xs over the windows of your soul, if you had one
For car doors and bicycles and single mothers with shopping addictions
For short skirts and long-legged dogs
For the taxi driver
For you of course but mostly always me
MAYFLY: Well as soon as we became adults we split into groups and began drafting a plan of action to improve our society. There was to be no eating, no sleeping, none of that nonsense, nothing to distract us from the creation of a better life into which our naiads and subimagos might one day moult. All anyone would be able to hear was the buzz of us plotting a new world. And while I admit we were too optimistic about our level of focus — so much time was wasted on sex, and jealousy involving sex, and fights involving jealousy involving sex, and the dissolution and reformation of various working groups for reasons involving fights involving jealousy involving sex, not to mention porch lights — by the end of the day there was a platform the swarm could agree upon, a model of non-hierarchical problem-solving and mutual aid we could use to hew from this grim fish-filled world lives of meaning and dignity. Not for us. Our dead were scattered around the porch lights by dawn. Every one of us. But our naiads. Our naiads. Little innocents feeding in still waters, our naiads.
MAYFLY, JR.: Well as soon as we became adults we split into groups and began drafting a plan of action to improve our society. There was to be no eating, no sleeping, none of that nonsense, nothing to distract us from dismantling the oppressions and hypocrisies of the past and creating a culture we could be proud to hand on to our naiads and our subimagos. And while it’s possible we put too much of a focus on sexual liberation — on the swarm and the water and eroding the myth of ovipositor envy — by the end of the day there was a platform we could agree upon, a model of social responsibility and communitarian planning we could use to hew from this hidebound world lives of dignity and freedom, and we had lived and fucked and beaten our wings against the sky in glory, you know?
MAYFLY III: Well as soon as we became adults we split into groups…
Next Monday you will be so happy it will bother you
that you have to just sit there being happy
instead of let’s say leaping from high places
and not falling.
“Webcomics that work better without the fourth-panel punchline” is basically a genre now, isn’t it
Look, we all know that there’s a trope in the movies where someone of a minority race is flattened out into just being “good at X” and that the white protagonist is the one we root for because unlike the guy who’s just “good at X” the protagonist has human depth, human relationships, a human point of view—and this somehow makes him more worthy of success than the antagonist who seems to exist just to be good at X.
So we root for Rocky against black guys who, by all appearances, really are better boxers than he is, because unlike them Rocky isn’t JUST a boxer, he has a girlfriend, he has hopes, he has dreams, etc. This comes up over and over again in movies where the athletic black competitor is set up as the “heel”—look at the black chick in Million Dollar Baby and how much we’re pushed to hate her. Look at all this “Great White Hope” stuff, historically, with Joe Louis.
So is it any surprise that this trope comes into play with Asians? That the Asian character in the movie is the robotic, heartless, genius mastermind who is only pure intellect and whom we’re crying out to be defeated by some white guy who may not be as brainy but has more pluck, more heart, more humanity? It’s not just Flash Gordon vs. Ming the Merciless, it’s stuff like how in the pilot episode of Girls Hannah gets fired in favor of an overachieving Asian girl who’s genuinely better at her job than she is (the Asian girl knows Photoshop and she doesn’t) and we’re supposed to sympathize with Hannah.