Do you feel a duty to read and acknowledge your literary, theoretical, and musical foremothers? Do you feel obligated to know the canon even though you don’t find it relevant to you? Do mothers really know what their daughters want? Are you angered by ignorant people of the younger generation who haven’t taken the time to read the foundational texts? Is Nicki Minaj arrogant for not acknowledging her debt to Lil’ Kim? Where do you fall on the questions of lineage and inheritance? Some ideas to chew on beneath the cut.
The Crunk Feminist: Lil’ Kim vs. Nicki Minaj by Crunktastic:
Last Friday, Lil’ Kim released Black Friday, a diss track to counter the release of Nicki Minaj’s debut album Pink Friday.
When I heard the track, I had mixed emotions. Truthfully, my first thought was “Why is Kim hating on Nicki?” Surely, we don’t need that. And given that Kim seems to be washed up and almost entirely out of the game, it most assuredly sounds like some hateration.
But I listened again to the track, and listened as Kim chided Nicki for being a “Lil Kim Clone Clown.” As Kim put it, “I mothered you hoes.” And I thought of all my conversations with young folks who think Nicki Minaj is the next coming. It make sense since most of them were maybe 5 or 6 when Kim debuted, and just a little older when she reached her zenith. It’s a classic case of generational amnesia and of the propensity of young folks to think all the hotness begins with them.
Loser Occult by Joyelle Mcsweeney:
Loser occult is a rejection of any concept of literature still trying to worship at that old altar of patrilineage, of literary inheritance. Do even poets, the most marginalized, penniless and emasculated of cultural producers, have to work day and night in the salt mine of that old sexist and property-obsessed hierarchy? Yet we, more than almost anyone, are supposed to celebrate an exclusive, narrow and harrowing traditionalism. We’re supposed to be its guardians, after all, like those old ladies sweeping the streets in Soviet Russia with twig brooms, as photographed for Newsweek magazine. This generation did this, that generation did that, this old man was the forebear, this young man is the inheritor. The loser occult knocks that edifice down, hangs out in the rubble huffing, hallucinating, gossiping, making out, wasting time, confecting new and obscene humanoid and nonhumanoid forms. Loser occult envisions a kind of leveled, ambivalent, invisible perpetuity without precedence or antecedence, not based on permanence but on decay, infloration, contamination. It rejects youth, youthful promise, power, vigor, resonance, and shared experience but allows for the possibility of weird mutation, arbitrary reanimation, coincidence, corrosion, drag and psychic twinship. (…)
Rejection of literary paternalism, its entire model of precedence and succession, is a rejection of literary time– the time of literature and the time in literature, as I, Miss Ronald Reagan Georgie Hyde Lee Gertrude Stein Jack Smith puts it. The rejection of the time of literature is what I’ve discussed above—no forebears, no lineage, no inheritors, no master-slave files, just a present-tension, a heap of erratic and corrupting nows dressed in different sorts of clothes.
BullyBloggers: Justifiable Matricide: Backlashing Faludi by Jack Halberstam:
Faludi doggedly pursues her thesis that “a generational breakdown underlies so many of the pathologies that have long disturbed American feminism.” Billing me, in the article’s final section, as the butch matricidal maniac who casually dismisses early models of feminism and then blithely offers up Lady Gaga in exchange, Faludi tidily but not very convincingly wraps up her vapid take on “ritual matricide” with an apocalyptic image of an older woman sitting in the emptied conference room wondering what happened to feminism.