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(I know I'm posting a lot lately... sorry. Bear with it, and I promise I'll pipe down once I'm well enough to be up and about doing Actual People Things again!)

So, the Cherwell! I have mixed feelings about the Cherwell. In my opinion, it is a perfectly average student publication with some perfectly awful writing. That's what happens when you have students writing towards a deadline, and that's not even for their degree. Added to which, that awful (student) journo tendency to believe earnestly that Every Situation Has Two Sides To It (And Only Two Sides), Ever, and sometimes stomach-turning moral equivalence is the result, with extra doses of uneven irony. On the other hand, look at the list of past contributors! Evelyn Waugh! W.H. Auden! Graham Greene! It is an embarrassing habit of mine, to go weak at the knees at such dead white male prestige. Shut up there's a reason I go here.

Anyway, that needlessly long ramble was to say that Sometimes I write for it, and Sometimes I get published. Seeing your name in print is endlessly satisfying. And sometimes, I do not get published, and since the world does not exactly have a black-market level demand for reviews of Winter's Bone, though they should, I am posting my rejected (the sub-editor didn't even get back to me, How Rude!) piece here.

And the thing is. I have seen it three times, okay? That is how much I love Winter's Bone. I don't even know that I am particularly critical here. But it is a wonderful film, and Jennifer Lawrence is prodigious in it, and here is my clumsy, inarticulate attempt to explain why:

Winter's Bone )
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Proof that going to university on a 8-week term drives you crazy: negative-first week restlessness. I am back in Oxford and THERE IS NOBODY AROUND... Except for the flatmate that stood me up for lunch for her boyfriend and hadn't bothered to tell me beforehand, but whatever. The point is: slowly being driven crazy through solitude, abandonment issues, and work guilt. Always the work guilt. :(

On the bright side, I have never seen so many movies in such a short period of time in my life. I make it a point to never see movies during term time because there are so many other things I could be doing... peering at a screen you can do anywhere! Over the past couple of days I've seen Winter's Bone (ohhhh lord. If you ever remotely enjoyed Jennifer Lawrence's performance in THG, you NEED to see Winter's Bone yesterday. It's just a really gorgeous film, and Jennifer Lawrence's performance is wonderful. I'm not surprised she got nominated for an Oscar for it - I haven't seen The Blind Side, and I'm unlikely to, but she should have won instead of Sandra Bullock, whose movies I've never really enjoyed), Zombieland (funny, but nothing will convince me that Jesse Eisenberg wasn't essentially playing himself), and The Artist (a masterpiece, or overhyped? probably both). The last I saw at the Ultimate Picture Palace, which is like a century old and awesome for that reason. Also, I went running yesterday! Maybe I should make that a regular habit, or something.

Also, I read some books.

The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath.

It's pretty hard not to read this autobiographically. )

Master Tung's Western Chamber Romance, trans. Li-li Ch'en.

I read the English translation, to my eternal shame. )

(no subject)

Saturday, 7 April 2012 06:35
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I watched Titanic, which was the first film I ever remember watching in the cinema (it seems unlikely, doesn't it, I'm sure most people watched their first movie in a cinema before they were five, but then again my parents were big believers in the fact that you shouldn't bring your children into a public space where they're expected to remain quiet unless you're sure they can do it), last night. In 3D - my first time, too! The 3D experience was cool, especially when they did exterior shots of the ship, but a little pointless when they were filming indoor scenes (HERE IS MY HAND, IT IS SO MUCH FURTHER FOREGROUND THAN THE REST OF MY BODY). Also, I cried tons, what's up with that! I don't think I'd seen it in full in over a decade, and it is actually terrifying how much of my latent psyche was probably affected by this movie. Like I unironically think that THAT IS WHAT AN ACTUAL ROMANCE SHOULD BE Jaaaaaaaaaaack, I'm flying. Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet have tons of chemistry, I never quite understood what this chemistry thing was, but they have SO MUCH CHEMISTRY.

So yes. Cried tons, audience applauded at the end, and the couple some rows away started making out. I have Celine Dion stuck in my head and it's not even really irritating me because it's playing out over my flashbacks of Leo & Kate kissing on the deck with the sun setting. FEEL FREE TO MOCK ME FOREVER NOW.

#34

Monday, 2 April 2012 19:55
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I'm now half an hour into Boy A. It's based on the Venables case - which has the dubious honour of being on my reading lists for both criminal and admin law. I don't think I can watch any further, just because... I can't. That's a pity - Andrew Garfield's performance looks really impressive. People who've watched it: how upsetting does it get, exactly?

Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, by Amy Chua.

The parenting memoir that was excerpted in the WSJ and got all the controversy. Ambivalent! Cue InterestingTM thoughts about race and ethnicity )
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Things I've been doing over the past few days: rereading ALL THE VICTORIAN LITERATURE. I jest - just Jane Eyre, which kind of surprised me with how racist it was, I definitely had not picked up on it the first time I read it but then again the first time I read it I was like twelve, and I may or may not have a lot of feelings with the way it feels nearly deliberate, the way Jane engages in racial othering in order to displace her own marginalisation and claim a place in her world. Maybe I'm just projecting what I know about early first-wave feminism (which is not to say that that distressing tendency is entirely exclusive to it, um) onto Charlotte Bronte's poor text? Hopefully not!

The other thing I've been rereading is Great Expectations - well, the first two-thirds. I love that book so much, it nearly makes me wish I knew more about psychoanalytic theory (that's saying a lot, given that I... do not have the greatest impression of it) so I could apply that. Really loving the insistent niggling of What was it? that bites at Pip so towards the end of Part 2, everyone loves a good mystery. Also the excitement shown by Mrs Joe in the face of violence, her own demonstrated violence, and the fact that she is eventually culled (physically and mentally) by violence, and the 'eagerness' she shows towards Orlick post the attack. (And obviously the parallel baptism of violence that Estella undergoes &c &c.) DICKENS, THAT IS SOME FUCKED UP SHIT.

Yelling at Victorian novelists for being sexist/racist/etc is obviously the most productive use of one's time.

---

I don't think I ever mentioned this, but on the plane ride home, in addition to completely neglecting the work I promised myself I'd do, I watched Qiu Jin. The article I linked to doesn't quite demonstrate the full extent of her bamfiness: she founded a women's poetry journal! abandoned her family to go study in Japan! wore Western male dress! ---> the last bit is the most interesting, given that (like all left-wing revolutionaries in her post-Opium War days) she was also anti-Western imperialism. Was she attempting to signify that Western men had the most power in the Chinese society she knew and thus attempting to reclaim that power via her body as site of rebellion? WE'LL NEVER KNOW. Anyway I just wanted to talk to that and also talk about an awesome lady.

Man, her poetry is so great, too. If I'd been exposed to her stuff at school it's possible I would have been so much more invested in class.

---

Also, I really want to watch Michelle Yeoh's The Lady. I think it's still playing here! I could totally go with my mother and she could pay! <--- bad daughter

---

HELLO INTERNET. I have three or four books to review, but I'm not rn because my attention span is too short, also I promised myself that I'd finish H.L.A. Hart's Punishment & Responsibility today so I don't have that much time. Mostly I'm kind of bored.
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I watched The Hunger Games today. I mostly liked it!

spoilers, obv )

Fever. Jet lag. These two things do not make for a) the best reviews b) most coherent readings of Orientalism :(

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