2012 – Carmen Winant

MoMA_Ivekovic2011_MakeUpMakeDown.jpgSanja Iveković, Make Up—Make Down, 1978

Sheila Heti, How Should a Person Be (2012). I found this well-crafted book, part novel and part memoir, to be very sexy. I supremely disliked certain parts, but I couldn’t stop thinking or talking about it for months after with everyone I came into contact with. I read Erica Jong’s 1973 novel Fear of Flying directly afterwards and think that they are similar (Heti’s version being better and smarter) in their inquest into how to be a young woman who craves both sexual domination/submission and intellectual validation and agency. Along the same lines and for the same reason, I love the HBO show Girls. It’s so hard to be a feminist sometimes in 2012.

When We Were Kings (1995). I watched this film about the mythic fight between Ali and Foreman in 1972 Zaire for the first time this year. I can confidently say that it is the most affective, muscular documentary that I have ever seen. George Plimpton and Norman Mailer were there and have funny and astute commentary on the fight. But it is Ali who is has the most charismatic charge (fear only seem to breed more charisma in him). Both out of the ring and in it he is the smartest and savviest one there.

The Summer Olympics, once every four years (2012). Track and Field, mostly, but also everything else.

The Dust Bowl documentary by Ken Burns (2012).

Wayne Koestenbaum introduction for Barthes’ A Lover’s Discourse (2010). This edition came out in 2010, but I only just read it. Koestenbaum, who almost never steers wrong, gives me a deeper and more human understanding of the book, which is itself a very profound description of longing.

Tom Waits interview with Terry Gross (2011). I could listen to it a hundred times. Tom Waits is a surprsingly funny, tender alien.

Sanja Ivekovic: Sweet Violence at the MoMA (2011-2012). The only art-related thing on this list. I found it sensitive and biting. This show gave me lots of ideas, and taught me a lot of recent history about the former Yugoslavia that I was ashamed that I didn’t know.

My brother Gabriel Winant, a Doctorate student at Yale, wrote an article, Grad Students to the Barricades, for Dissent Magazine a few months ago about unionizing the graduate students, and the larger stake and importance of labor unions within academic institutions. Even if you are not in academia, it is hugely relevant. Truth to power!

Mast Books on avenue A is the best book store that I have ever been to.

Carmen Winant


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