Saturday, February 13, 2010

Thoughts on Barbie, Intertextuality and the E-reader

Yesterday I was watching the Tyra Banks show (I know I know...don't judge) where she had Eve Ensler on to push her new book "I am an Emotional Creature". Tyra asked her her usual mind-bogglingly poignant questions...but once we got through that and Eve was allowed to speak I learned that Barbie was originally designed as a sex toy for men, and that up until 12 years ago one could not use the word "vagina" on television.

Then Eve went on to discuss her "free Barbie" project...a story she wrote where all the Barbies of the world can broadcast the thoughts of one forward-thinking little girl, who then mobilizes the troops towards a new feminism. I stopped what I was doing when I heard this, (because surprisingly enough I can do several other things while watching Tyra...) and had a little deja vu

Last week I finished reading Denise Duhamel's collection of poetry entitled "Kinky". It's a collection of poems about Barbie. This book is incredible in that it manages to be funny, historically accurate, engaging, challenging and magnetic.It also has a mental shelf life, because I have still been processing some of the poems. Yet, I cannot emphasize enough just how similar what Eve had to say about the doll was to what many of Denise's poems were saying about the doll. Now herein lies the itch I have...Eve Ensler is a well educated feminist...and I guess I am wondering If she was aware of Denise Duhamel's work...
What responsibility do artists and editors have to the great "conversation" of intertextuality?

One exciting thing that the e-reading offers, is the opportunity to hyperlink, within the text , to other texts. (Some authors link to the dictionary which is helpful when reading D.F. Wallace for example) I posture, that it could open the doors to a more fluid referential reading community, one wherein everyone is invited to the party, everyone is in on the joke....and if you see no hypertext...that too can signify a certain something...

Joe Amato, writes poetry that hyperlinks to other parts of his own poems -making his work fluid and mobile. I think we are going to see a lot more artists using this tool in their prosody.

For now, and until then, I'll hold authors responsible to do their homework. While watching Tyra.

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