posted by Johannes at 2:42 PM
I left this message on delirious hem as well: A Gen X'er myself, albeit at the older end of that spectrum, no matter how I wrap my head around this notion of "Gurlesque," am I able to view it as anything other than the "same old shit," wrapped up with a burlesque bow, grotesque surrealist unicorns and tee hee hee girly gigglish Charlie's Angels carnivalesque with grrls who can able to say the word "vagina" -- gasp! -- without shame or more "freedom." A "more fluid view of sexuality"? Pshaw. Avant-garde? (OMFG! ROTFL! LOL!) Think the riot grrl or Gurlesque movement "disarms, destablizes, and creeps out the patriarchy"? Does this make the old geezers sit up and take notice? Nah. Girls are girls, no matter how you spell it, dress it up & "subvert" it. The patriarchy, if it takes note at all, just laughs even harder, all the way to the bank and the seats of power they've always controlled.
I think the idea of using Bakhtin is very good (since I use his ideas all the time). The shortcoming of "gurlesque" is that so far it's only a taxonomical chart. Arielle picked up on something important - the prevalence of grotesque in a contemporary mode - but she hasn't yet explored it further. Also, the net is too wide. I have a hard time seeing Brenda Shaughnessy and Mattea Harvey in the same category as Lara Glenum, Ariana Reines and Cathy Wagner. However, I believe Lara is actually working with Arielle on a larger gurlesque project that takes the whole thing further. I don't expect any poetry movement to overthrow any kind of patriarchy, but I do believe in unsettling the gender roles etc. Creeping out the order. That's something the grotesque has done since the Renaissance.A good example of this was Ron's review of Chelsey Minnis's book the other day. It was interesting to me to see how the book seemingly pushed Ron out of his normal reflexive formalism/comfort zone. I think what was lacking from Ron's vocab was exactly the grotesque: he could only see Minnis's work in terms of a simplistic notion of "shock." As if that is all the grotesque does.I don't actually understand the unicorn business or the Charlie's Angels business. More about this later. For another take on what the grotesque can do, read this great manifesto Aase Berg wrote with Mathias Forshage back in 1996 (as members of the Surrealist Group of Stockholm): http://www.surrealistgruppen.org/surrmaineng.html
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