Monthly Archives: December 2008

dear lauren berlant

I read the The Female Complaint. What a hoot! I am now compelled to “live a better cliche”, and have learned that “falling in love isn’t a very good way of getting to know someone”. I am amused and enthralled by your sharp readings of Showboat (people can never goof enough on Edna Ferber, in my opinion), your indulgence of Imitation of Life, your ability to mock Dorothy Parker, and your ability to use archival material without making a tribute to its object. I am also compelled to watch She-Devil.

But even more than your awesome Duke monograph (which at least has the removing paratexts of the form), I am intimidated by your hilarious and engaged blog. Your review of Sex and the City,

Dear Kate Bush

Dear Kate Bush,

that kooky Kate

Your shrill vibrato. Your off-the-wall lyrics. Your heavy-handed recordings, not shrinking from the synthesizers or the baby-sweet voice, rife with shrieking seagulls and fatherly whispers, all seemingly laid down in some moldy Scottish castle where the rafters reverberate with the sad moanings of 500-year-old ghosts. And oh Kate, the videos. Your willowy frame swathed in a clinging gown (with matching tights and a flower in your long, long hair), your wacky interpretive dance moves and your big, haunted eyes.

I love you.

I love you for embracing the 12-year-old girl in you and running with it, for playing on your tinkery old toy piano, for writing about your dad, dying back garden animals and your favorite Victorian novel, and for taking those expressive movement classes cause it just felt so good.

Kate, you took the myth of female hysteria and threw it back in our faces, made it into something bizarre, singable and great. When they said women’s lives couldn’t be the stuff of art, you weren’t afraid to look or sound like a girl or write a song like an entry in your diary. When women had been pigeonholed by centuries of Freuds and Gerard de Nervals, ceaselessly represented as wishy-washy, repressed and addicted to love, you gave us back the eternal wounded teenage girl, the one with a radio, a burning desire to dress up in complicated costumes and a direct line to the poetic visions of the girl saints. And you made her fierce and steadfast, clad in a skimpy leotard but victim of no man’s objectification. You may be a kook, Kate, but I wouldn’t fuck with you. You’d claw my eyes out with those long red nails. And then you’d dance off into the woods like some misplaced and self-satisfied banshee, hands framing your face in a perfectly cultivated gesture.