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Now that I’m at home, I’m reading about cosmetic surgery nightmares. A woman whose eyes are sewn open day and night. Painful deaths from leaking butt implants and exploding fake breasts. Michael Taussig, in his new book Beauty and the Beast, calls this “cosmic surgery.” He writes, “For have not women’s bodies become a type of agribusiness, along with monocropping, artificial fertilizers, dangerous pesticides, and irrigation? And has not nature struck back…? That woman in the dark, hot room, in a coma after a lipo, the woman who can’t close her eyes, the woman breathing like a cat, those double mastectomies and liters of pus drained from each buttock.” It’s a kind of fairy-tale unreality, all horror and transformation.
"Is the grown man dressed up in chain mail really more ridiculous than the football fan who has painted his chest in his team colors, or the dude who showed up to your Halloween party dressed like a keg? Maybe it's just me, but I think participating -- trying, making effort -- is way cooler than sitting on the sidelines and trying to look mysterious and disaffected while smoking a cigarette and criticizing. Talking is easy; doing is difficult, and therefore way cooler."
"So I went to see this santero in a very working class neighborhood in Puerto Rico, and we had a long reading, and it wasn't ultimately that helpful. But when the reading ended, we walked down this stairway in his three-level house, and, as we were walking down the stairway, I saw something that looked strange to me -- a big black cauldron. When I got down the stairs and got a better look at it, I said to him, "What's that?" He said, "That's the dead one." And I felt, just... Wow. The dead one."
"As a child who was born in South India, and who grew up in a traditional South Indian household in the United States, I didn't see any Bollywood movies growing up. We didn't speak Hindi in the household, but a mixture of Tamil, Kannada, and English. We ate mainly South Indian food: idli, dosais, rice, rasam, etc. My mother sings traditional South Indian classical music. These were things I knew, but they were also things I had yet to see in children's literature."