July 17th to July 23rd, 2016

Outside: Neighborhood Cat Despite being a dog person through and through, cats are drawn to me. It is, presumably, the cat allergy and my therefore cool attitude towards felines. I paused to take a picture of this character, resplendent in his yard, and he came to me instead. Cats. What are you going to do?

In the wake of Pokémon Go, I found this Atlantic piece by David Sims on the throughline of the franchise fascinating. I am very much of the Pokémon generation. I played Pokémon Crystal first, the first game where you could play as a girl, and continued on through several generations. Those games (and The Legend of Zelda games) were always a lifeline for me through difficult times with my anxiety as a child and adolescent, although, of course, I had no vocabulary for what I was experiencing at the time. What made them so rich,  interesting, and soothing to come back to, time and again, was that central aspect of exploration. When I think of The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, one of the most foundational texts of my childhood, I recall wandering the game world before the story, and I love that story. It was so freeing for me to access, even in imaginative play, levels of agency that I did not have at the time. Which, as Sims points out, is part of the inspiration behind Pokémon: Satoshi Tajiri saw that kids weren’t going out and catching bugs anymore due to urbanization, so he designed a game that could be an outlet for that kind of exploration.

It’s only natural to take it into the real world.

While I’ve been avidly reading profiles and articles concerning Trump, the Republican National Convention, and the election this week, I don’t know how much I want to talk about it here because it’s so incredibly disheartening. But I do want to talk about two articles I read this week: this New Yorker piece about the ghostwriter for The Art of the Deal and Caity Weaver’s GQ article about four of Trump’s properties.

The New Yorker piece captivates me as both a look into the abyss that is Trump and a look into “selling out.” I know how hard it is to making a living in a creative field, so I never begrudge anyone in those fields what they need to do to put food on the table. But what do you do when your work may have put, in Tony Schwartz’s words, a “sociopath” on the path to the White House?

The GQ piece is a little lighter, as Weaver visits the properties and talks her way into visiting Mar-a-Lago, but Weaver’s writing style has really been captivating me lately. She also wrote a wonderful profile of Kim Kardashian for GQ, which I thoroughly enjoyed. (Do take care; some of the accompanying photography is not safe for work.) Her tone is acidic enough to be cuttingly witty but not so acidic as to be cruel. And just look at this:

Trump’s reported history of property acquisition shows he regularly deploys a cunning tactic that, depending on your political stance, you might refer to as either “shrewd” or “technically legal.”

I’m as shocked to discover a favorite journalist as I was to discover a favorite food critic (The New York Times’ Pete Wells), but delighted nonetheless.

I continue to make progress through The Last of the Wine. I’m enjoying it, especially Renault’s rarefied language concerning love and other tender emotions, but I’m starting to weary of it a little. I think it’s because it’s a story that declares its importance in being about a character’s entire life, and I’ve grown tired of that as of late, unless said life is, say, Natalie Clifford Barney’s, which I would read volumes about. Alexias, it must be said, has nothing on Natalie Clifford Barney, although he’s quite sweet.

And I continue to plow through Star Wars: The Clone Wars, finishing the “Water War,” “Gungan Attack,” and “Prisoners” arc about a civil war on Mon Cala. It’s nice enough for a slice of Star Wars politics, although I’m fairly sure the only thing I’ll remember is wondering why on earth Mon Calamari females have breasts if they’re amphibians! A failure of character design, to be sure.

2 thoughts on “July 17th to July 23rd, 2016”

  1. Okay, I was watching Clone Wars, but now I’m on a break from that to watch Star Wars Rebels instead. Just cause Clone Wars is on Netflix so I can watch it whenever, and Star Wars Rebels I only have checked out from the library for a week.

    I am excited for you to get on to the other Mary Renault books! The Last of the Wine isn’t my fave, as I’ve said, but some of her others are bloody stellar.


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