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comment by flac
flac  ·  496 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: 2 Years of Social Isolation (The Social Isolation of Youtube (Regular Car Reviews))

Feelings (and/or ramblings) on men and isolation

Because I have to use my Anthropology degree from a liberal arts college for something, right?

This doesn't have too much to do with the video, just some things that have been percolating for a while

It's interesting to me that isolation/solitude as a choice is generally seen as positive/fruitful when associated with men, but less so with women (when it is even associated with them at all). I have the knee-jerk reaction of wanting to blame Thoreau, but maybe that's just me.

Fun fact (or at least a thing said by a teacher, haven't verified) about Thoreau, by the way: during the writing of "Walden", that great treatise on solitude and doing things for oneself, Thoreau would go back to his mother's house, which was a few miles away, and she would do his laundry and cook for him once a week.

At the risk of using one of my least favorite words of the year, I think the recent "narrative" surrounding men and isolation comes from Thoreau / Salinger / countless other reclusive artsy types, who remove themselves as wholly as they can from some aspect of society to focus on their "work". Historically, of course, this has only been a real option for men, and the only stories we get of isolated females are either widows or spinsters, typically pitiable rather than sage (with the occasional queering of this through witches etc). Neither chosen nor positive isolation.

I don't know if my inability to think of a notable story of female isolation says more about my failings as a reader, or about the relative invisibility of these stories, but it points to something important either way.

It is too early and I am too uncaffeinated to finish this hot mess of a ramble, but at some point today there will be thoughts here about:

- The valuing of work / individual growth over social connection/emotional fulfillment for men

- flac searches for positive stories of female isolation, reports back

- bell hooks, "The Will to Change"

- Does this relate to Trump? more at 11.

goobster  ·  495 days ago  ·  link  ·  

On Thoreau: The way I heard the story is that his mother and sister would visit him weekly with fresh pastries.

Amanda Palmer makes hay with this idea by telling artists to accept the generosity of their patrons, and not feel bad about it. She quotes this Thoreau story, and then admonishes artists to "Take the goddam donuts!"

user-inactivated  ·  495 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I remember reading a room of ones own, which I think touches on this slightly? I don't really remember, the more I think about it. You made me realize I haven't read from a physical book in a year. Anyway, rooms of ones own.

I have an exgirlfriend who extremely independent- the type that would walk rather walk 3 miles at 0 degrees F in a suburban city where everyone keeps offering a ride, the type of person who purposefully obstructs themselves or refuses to be defined, the type of person who would disappear for a few days entirely and no one I knew would know where she is (she had stayed in bed reading for days)- but this is the way she liked it, and to know her is to accept that you will always wonder about her.

I always admired her, even from afar, we've kept in touch a lot more recently, since the consequences of our solitudes have become more parallel. There is a lot of trouble at work. There is a lot of fear of strangers. There is only added complexity in the storytelling we tell ourselves. We write to each other in cryptic ways because of our literary mindedness. Sometimes we devolve into just rhyming what the other person says. I don't think we actually understand each other.

I worry a lot that I come across as needy, because I don't have the emotional intelligence that she has. She brought up that she was coming to town awhile ago, but only just revealed to me that she's been in town for a week yesterday. I want to accuse of her of being a robot, only because I know that this is what triggers her worst anxieties- all of those closest to her eventually call her a robot. I don't envy those in isolation, because I often feel as though I am only a person to be juggled in her world.

cgod  ·  495 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I never picked up on the idea that there was a positive narrative in mens isolation.

The one thing that does occur to me is religious men going on retreat and returning with the TRUTH. It's a narrative that is told in many (most?) faith traditions and is a very male dominate isolation tale.

cgod  ·  495 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Flannery O' Connor occurs to me when I think of isolated women who produced an amazing body of work. I don't know that she would have chose such an isolated life if she wasn't extremely sick. I think the isolation helped her hone her craft.

She is my favorite author of short stories.

The Bronte SIster's work was an outgrowth of isolation or so I am told. I don't know anything about them or why and how they were cut off by society. I've read many of the significant novels of the period but I've never read one of the theirs and don't really know anything about them aside from the fact they lived a very sheltered life.

My wife suggest Emily Dickinson, I don't know anything about her either but Wikipedia suggest that her isolation was entirely self imposed.