I just remembered I never formally said goodbye to this site, even though it's been effectively done for well over a year. It will remain live, but if you're looking for new content, you'll want to head over to jenmyers.net. If you were subscribed to the RSS feed, it should have already started sending you the updated site content.
See you around.
As previously mentioned, Deliberatepixel.com is in flux right now, and, as a complement to preparing for the future, I've done a bit of looking back at the past. The result? I made a print book of my favorite posts from the last two years: Deliberatepixel Offline: 2009–2011.
For several years now, I’ve wanted to create an initiative to promote women in technology, particularly in programming. A few months ago, with the help of many others, I finally started to do it.
From the beginning, we’ve had a number of questions and objections–some gentle, some not–related to the intent in doing such a thing. I was prepared to deal with these. Like it or not, at this point in the culture and industry game, there are a lot of preconceived notions floating around, in both women’s and men’s minds, about why we should or shouldn't create an initiative like this and, in many cases, there is a measure of solid experience and reasoning behind them. I think it’s the responsibility of anyone taking on this battle to acknowledge the existing context, and address the concerns it raises. I’ll tell anyone who wants to know, and probably some who don’t, what exactly I intend to do with this initiative and why I think the tired old issue of “women in technology” really matters. At the very least, I think what we're building should be appreciated or judged based on what it really stands for instead of what it doesn't.
I decided recently that Deliberatepixel.com–which is six years old in total and has been wearing its current skin for almost two years now–was in need of a drastic redesign. After thinking about it for a little while, I quickly realized the redesign is going to have to be even more drastic than I had originally planned.
Raymond Chandler chose a career of writing like a mercenary picked up a weapon. At age 45–an oil executive recently drummed out of his high-paying job for his drinking and philandering binges–he decided to earn a living by making stories, and he pursued that goal with a new discipline and order. He read one pulp magazine after another, noting structure and absorbing style. He enrolled in a writing class, where he dutifully produced essays and stories according to prompts and assignments. Steadily, over the course of years, he moved from pulp fiction hack to successful novelist to Hollywood screenwriter. After his death, he became one of the most well-recognized American writers of the twentieth century.
Like many another crime fiction junkie, I'm mildly obsessed with Steig Larsson's Millennium trilogy. I pounced on the first book, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, when it first appeared in the States, and was rather thrilled to discover a good crime story with a startling unique and complex female character at its heart - an unfortunately rare occurrence. All too often, especially historically, women only occupy the backdrops of noir genre tales.
But beyond the story itself, the (anti-)heroine Lisbeth Salander has also seemed to find herself in the middle of a popular criticism debate about women, violence and the representation of both in art. The graphic depiction of both the violence - extremely sexual in nature - she is subject to and the violence she delivers in return has been the justification for critics to discuss whether or not her story deserves to be taken seriously or if it's nothing but salacious drama only befitting the pulp from which tradition it springs.
The past couple of years I’ve compiled a top movie list for each year, taking care to point out that my schedule doesn’t often allow me to stay up-to-date on the most recent films and that the list of movies I offered dealt less with new features and more with whatever worthy films I managed to see that time period. In 2010, it so happened that while I saw more new films than in previous years, I didn’t see enough I that felt I could to put out a definitive top movie list. So I decided to swing completely to the other side of the spectrum and make a list of older films I saw for the first time this past year - and older films only.
The "Hitchcock Blonde" is a cinematic icon. Cool, clever, capable and, well, blonde, Alfred Hitchcock's vision of the ideal woman, embodied by the likes of Tippi Hedren, Kim Novak and Grace Kelly, is easily identifiable and completely indelible. I love the Hitchcock Blonde, honestly, and think that, for all the twisted sexual psychology that seem to have lurked under Hitchcock's impulses in creating it, it's a complicated and worthwhile example of femininity in film.
But one of Hitchcock's talents was infusing even the bit players in his films with personality and identity, and for all the attention his heroines get, many of his supporting women are interesting and charming. More importantly, several of them are their own archetype, an often under-appreciated one in classic film - pretty girls in glasses.
Everyone has their pet hot-button issues. I have quite a few of them, actually, because that’s the kind of annoying, self-righteous gal I am. But if there is one issue that is guaranteed to fire me up fastest and with the most indignation, it’s book banning. I can’t stand it. In any of its forms - banning, censoring, burning. It’s all part and parcel of the same act. Whether it’s bullying a library to remove a book from its shelves or publicly lighting on fire books by which one is offended, people attempting taking away from other people the right and responsibility to make up their own minds pretty much sucks.
There isn't an artist, living or dead, who ever frustrated, confused and inspired me as much as Jack Kerouac did. Yes, I crossed paths with him precisely when I needed to, as a disaffected youth obsessed with consuming words and creating meaning. Yes, the passage of time has tempered my feelings for him, and given me a more realistic perspective. But, still, that fascination and affection - it lingers. It always will.