Making Bets and Taking Bets in the Pool

Olivia gets huffy but she humbles, “Mmm hmm, I ain’t dirty. Naw. Not like that. And that white girl just saying Steve Harvey went a little too far… I went into the listening pool and maybe you don’t know what that is. You probably don’t know it as an opportunity like I do because your presentations have always been preambled. White supremacy is prearranged. It’s a prearrangement. And that’s why when someone white wants to go meritocratic on your ass, lecturing about pulling boot straps, you know to let it wash over you and how it won’t make nothin come clean.” Olivia sputters her lips to scoff, “Boot straps.” She sneers and rolls her eyes, disgusted by her own illusions. She conjures marching orders to go with them and a two-tone manifestation of hand poms for cheer squad. “White supremacy never fails to mention how reliable your invisible boots would be if only you’d pull up your invisible boot straps. Shhhiiiit. No boots I ever had had mother fucking Boot straps.” Olivia stops slouching and stretches both legs out, tilting her left foot side to side for her own inspection, kicking off one of her flip-flops by accident. She wants to paint her toenails a new shade but can’t decide if silver blings better than copper.

Olivia drops Vadim Peare, wants to electro-fry the waters with a Russian-English DJ, record producer, she shrugs when she mentions him, Born a Saint and raised in London. She doesn’t go in for ear buds; she sets the honking headphones on top like a helmet, piloting but unconvinced in the cloudy oxymorons, reporting all is well when they is playing dead. Ratta tat tat! She becomes a gunner… “Charades.” She announces like she’s chewing gum and popping it. She winks, “A promoter, record collector, radio presenter, occasional painter and writer, whose music combines hip hop, soul, reggae and electronica… so goes the wiki leak… but now how he gonna go and pit the sisters against one another and call it revolution and DRUM ROLL PLEEEZE… Ratta tat tat! She says, “Fuck Machine Gun Kelly!” when she shoots, stopping abruptly for the loathing of mimes. “It’s Meryl Streep’s birthday, by the way and FYI. Can you believe it? Bitch be ignoring Matt Dowd. And he one of her own, least wise in her corner.”

Your Revolution · DJ Vadim featuring Sarah Jones USSR:Life From The Other Side ℗ Ninja Tune Released on: 1999-09-01 Artist: DJ Vadim Featured Artist: Sarah Jones Featuring: Sarah Jones Music Publisher: Copyright Control Music Publisher: Just Isn’t Music
Yeah yeah, yeah this goes out to all the women and men from New York to
London to LA to Tokyo struggling to keep their self-respect in this climate
Of misogyny, money worship and mass production of hip-hop’s illegitimate child,
Hip-Pop. And this especially goes out to Gil Scott-Heron, friend, living legend
And proto-rapper who wrote “The Revolution will not be Televised.” Much Respect.
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Not happen between these thighs
Not happen between these thighs
The real revolution ain’t about booty size
The Versaces you buys, or the Lexus you drives
And though we’ve lost Biggie Smalls
Baby your notorious revolution
Will never allow you to lace no lyrical douche, in my bush
Your revolution will not be killing me softly, with Fugees
Your revolution ain’t gonna knock me up without no ring
And produce little future emcees
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not find me in the backseat of a jeep
With LL, hard as hell, you know doin it and doin it and doin it well
Doin it and doin it and doin it well, nah come on now
Your revolution will not be you smacking it up, flipping it, or rubbing it down
Nor will it take you downtown or humpin around
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
Your revolution will not have me singing, ain’t no nigga like the one I got
And your revolution will not be sending me for no drip, drip VD shot
And your revolution will not involve me, feelin your nature rise
Or helping you fantasize
Because that revolution will not happen between these thighs
No no, not between these thighs
Oh, my Jamican brother, your revolution will not make you feel bombastic
And really fantastic
And have you groping in the dark for that rubber wrapped in plastic
You will not be touching your lips to my triple dip of french vanilla,
Butter pecan, chocolate delux
Or having Akinyele’s dream, m-hmm a 6-foot blowjob machine m-hmm
You want to subjugate your queen? uh-huh
Think I’m a put it in my mouth, just ’cause you made a few bucks?
Please brother please
Your revolution will not be me tossing my weave
And making me believe I’m some caviar-eating ghetto mafia clown
Or me giving up my behind, just so I can get signed
And maybe having somebody else write my rhymes
I’m Sarah Jones, not Foxy Brown
You know I’m Sarah Jones, not Foxy Brown
Your revolution makes me wonder, where could we go
If we could drop the empty pursuit of props and ego
We’d revolt back to our Roots, use a little Common Sense
On a quest to make love De La Soul, no pretense
But your revolution will not be you flexing your little sex and status
To express what you feel
Your revolution will not happen between these thighs
Will not happen between these thighs
Will not be you shaking and me *yawn* faking
Between these thighs
Because the real revolution, that’s right I said the real revolution
You know I’m talking about the revolution
When it comes, it’s gonna be real
It’s gonna be real
It’s gonna be real
When it finally comes
When it finally comes
It’s gonna be real, yeah yeah

Songwriters: Vadim Peare / Y
Your Revolution lyrics © Third Side Music Inc.LYRICS:

Sarah Jones (Writer/Performer/Producer)

 Called “a master of the genre” by The New York Times, Sarah Jones is a Tony® and Obie Award-winning performer and writer known for the multi-character, one-person Broadway hit Bridge & Tunnel, originally produced by Oscar® winner Meryl Streep, and her current, critically-acclaimed show Sell/Buy/Date.

Renowned as “a one-woman global village”, she has also given multiple main-stage TED Talks garnering nearly six million views, performed at The White House and United State of Women Summit for President and First Lady Obama, and given an historic performance at The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

The daughter of two physicians, Sarah was educated at The United Nations School and Bryn Mawr College, all of which contributed to her becoming a vocal advocate for the empowerment of women and girls globally. In her role as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, she has performed for audiences around the world, and raised awareness of issues including ethnic, racial, and economic disparities in the United States.

Most recently, Jones launched Foment Productions, a social justice-focused entertainment company. Sell/Buy/Date, which has been commissioned by the NoVo Foundation, is its first production. Foment Productions is also developing a docuseries with Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.

Learn more about Sarah’s ongoing projects at and follow her on all social platforms @yesimsarahjones. 

“Rising Tides” by contemporary US painter, Samantha French.
Born and raised in north central Minnesota, Samantha French is a white woman who graduated from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design in 2005. French actively exhibits her paintings and is included in many private and public collections throughout the country while her work has garnered extensive international and national press. She is a full-time painter and keeps a studio in New York.

“My current body of work is focused on swimmers underwater and above. Using vague yet consuming memories from my childhood summers spent immersed in the tepid lakes of northern Minnesota, I attempt to recreate the quiet tranquility of water and nature; of days spent sinking and floating, still and peaceful. These paintings are a link to my home and continual search for the feeling of the sun on my face and warm summer days at the lake. They are an escape, a subtle reprieve from the day-to-day. This combination of memory, observation and photography has allowed me to preserve the transitory qualities of water and remembrance.” ~Samantha French, artist
painting by Calida Rawles
find out about the black artist:
“The relationship between water, memory, and Black trauma is central to Rawles’ practice. Accompanying her sold-out solo exhibition at Various Small Fires in 2020 was a quote by Toni Morrison from the author’s critical talk “The Site of Memory”: “All water has a perfect memory and is forever trying to get back to where it was.” The idea, called water-memory, purports that water preserves the memory of what runs through it. Rawles thought to apply it to the Middle Passage, the triangular trade route through which enslaved Africans were brutally transported across the Atlantic. She also researched Jim Crow–era segregationist laws, which she found bore a relationship to aqueous spaces: they either relegated Black Americans to smaller, less appealing sections of pools or beaches, or outright barred them altogether from entering certain waters.”

“Morrison, in her essay, wrote that memory was more true, and important, to Black Americans than history, as its repercussions are inherited by later generations. Rawles has found that to be the case herself, in some ways.”
Below is a Link to the Video where I learned about Calida Rawles:

Voyage of the Sable Venus (and other poems by Robin Coste Lewis)

And never to forget beauty,
however strange or difficult

~Reginald Shepard



What follows is a narrative poem comprised solely and entirely of the titles, catalogue entries, or exhibit descriptions of Western art objects in which a black female figure is present, dating from 38,000 BCE to the present.

The formal rules I set for myself were simple:

1) No title could be broken or changed in any way. While the grammar is completely modified–I erased all periods, commas, semi-colons–each title was left as published, and was not syntactically annotated, edited, or fragmented.

2) “Art” included paintings, sculpture, installations, photography, lithographs, engraving, any work on paper, etc–all those traditional mediums now recognized by the Western art-historical project. However, because black female figures were also used in ways I could never have anticipated, I was forced to expand that definition to include other material and visual objects, such as combs, spoons, buckles, pans, knives, table legs.

3) At some point, I realized that museums and libraries (in what I imagine must have been a hard-won gesture of goodwill, or in order not to appear irrelevant) had removed many 19th century historically-specific markers, such as slave, colored, or Negro from their titles or archives, and replaced these words instead with the sanitized, but perhaps equally vapid African-American. In order to replace this historical erasure of slavery (however well-intended), I re-erased the post-modern “African-American” and changed all those titles back. That is, I re-corrected the corrected horror to allow that original horror to stand. My intent was to explore and record not only the history of human thought, but also how normative and complicit artists, art institutions and art historians have all been in participating in–if not creating–this history.

4) As an homage, I decided to include titles of art by black women artists and curators, whether the art included a black female figure or not. Most of this work was created over the last century, with its deepest saturation occurring since the Cold War. I also included work by black queer artists, regardless of gender, because this body of work has made consistently some of the richest, most elegant, least pretentious contributions to Western art interrogations of gender and race.

5) In a few instances, it was more fruitful to include a museum’s description of the art, rather than the title itself. This was especially true for colonial period.

6) Sometimes I chose to include female figures I believed the Western art world simply had not realized was a black woman passing for white.

7) Finally, no title was repeated.

“The Metropolitan Museum of Art
Employees’ Association Minstrel Show and Dance
will be held at the American Woman’s Association
361 West 57th Street, Saturday evening,
October 17, 1936” 

“I am anxious to buy a small healthy negro girl–
ten or twelve years old, and would like to know
if you can let me have one…”


Excerpt from the book: "THE SHIP’S INVENTORY"

Four-Breasted Vessel.
Three Women in Front
of a Steamy Pit, Two-Faced
Head Fish Trying on Earrings, Unidentified.


Young Woman with Shawl
and Painted Backdrop, Pearl of the Forest.
Two Girls with Braids People on a Ship
with Some Dancing Girls, Our Lady of Mercy, Blue.


Nude Iconologia Girl
with Red Flower Sisters
of the Boa Woman
Flying a Butterfly.


Kite                Empty
Chair              Pocket
Book               Girl


in Red Dress with Cats
and Dogs. Devil House Door
of No Return. Head of a Girl


In the Bedroom,
In the Kitchen.
Contemplation Dark
Girl, Girl


In the Window Negress
with Flower Sleeping Woman
Negress with Flower Head
of a Woman Nude in a Landscape.


Libyan Sybil: Coloured
Nude, High Yellow. Negro
Woman and Two Children,
The Flight of the Octoroon:


The Four Quarters
of the World Holding
a Celestial

*Read selected works, The Ship's Inventory 
and parts of Catalogue I: Ancient Greece & Ancient Rome,  
from Robin Coste Lewis' Voyage of the Sable:
This is an excellent interview! Hear from the poet how she explains the image the namesake of the book stems from,
“Voyage of the Sable Venus,” the first collection from Robin Coste Lewis, was the winner of the 2015 National Book Award for poetry. Lewis discussed her debut, her readers and her influences with Jeffrey Brown at the Miami Book Festival.

“Winnie” poem by Gwendolyn Brooks

In 1950, a year after she made her debut, poet Gwendolyn Brooks (June 7, 1917–December 3, 2000) became the first black writer to win the Pulitzer Prize.

In writing your poem, tell the truth as you know it. Tell your truth. Don’t try to sugar it up. Don’t force your poem to be nice or proper or normal or happy if it does not want to be. Remember that poetry is life distilled and that life is not always nice or proper or normal or happy or smooth or even-edged.

~Quote originally published in her 1981 prose book Young Poet’s Primer (public library)

The following poem is from her 1988 pamphlet-length poem Winnie — a tribute to South African political leader and human rights activist Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, written in Mandela’s voice:

Yet I know
that I am Poet!
I pass you my Poem.

A poem doesn’t do everything for you.
You are supposed to go on with your thinking.
You are supposed to enrich
the other person’s poem with your extensions,
your uniquely personal understandings,
thus making the poem serve you.

I pass you my Poem! — to tell you
we are all vulnerable —
the midget, the Mighty,
the richest, the poor.
Men, women, children, and trees.
I am vulnerable. 

Hector Pieterson was vulnerable.

My Poem is life, and not finished.
It shall never be finished.
My Poem is life, and can grow.

Wherever life can grow, it will.
It will sprout out,
and do the best it can.
I give you what I have.
You don’t get all your questions answered in this world.
How many answers shall be found
in the developing world of my Poem?
I don’t know. Nevertheless I put my Poem,
which is my life, into your hands, where it will do the best it can.

I am not a tight-faced Poet.

I am tired of little tight-faced poets sitting down to
shape perfect unimportant pieces.
Poems that cough lightly — catch back a sneeze.
This is the time for Big Poems,
roaring up out of sleaze,
poems from ice, from vomit, and from tainted blood.
This is the time for stiff or viscous poems.
Big, and Big.

Shaming Black Women into Motherhood Works for Jesus

Changing the Terms of “Black Lives Matter” was and is of course, par for the course, which is to say, white supremacy at it’s most insidious and diabolically successful. And I’ll tell you how it was done. I’ll show you how white people get black people to support Trump. Black men don’t wanna be the pussy. Black men want to be the ones who grab pussy. Black men want to control pussy. So if you tell a black boy that the most dangerous place for him isn’t facing a white cop’s gun, The most dangerous place for a black boy isn’t facing the lynching rope of the white KKK, But Rather, The most dangerous place for a black boy to face is a BLACK WOMAN’s womb, You tell that black boy how black mothers are dangerous. You tell that black boy that abortion is genocide and then you grant him permission to shame all black girls and all black women. If a black girl doesn’t submit to patriarchal rules, agreeing that her body does not belong to her, that it instead belongs to God, a black boy is taught that he is allowed to criminalize her. White supremacy is enjoying this whole pantomime, mind you. Witness how You divide black men from black women. Witness how You divide black communities. And you get “Justice” Clarence Thomas, married to a white woman, Ginny, to help shame black women. You play the long game. Clarence Thomas never said white supremacy wasn’t a given. Of course America is racist, he’s been overheard by whole student lecture groups, mostly white. Point is, Anita Hill should know her place. Clarence Thomas needs his patriarchal revenge. Now patriarchal power isn’t black or white, although white supremacy is still King being that He’s the man with the nuclear arsenal. But I digress…

Some of you religious folks are feeling this to be your catnip, what calls you to purpose and service, and you even enjoy how it tittilates you like you’re winning something. I get it. I get why you feel strongly. It’s your conditioning.

This is a link to a 15 minute Frontline mini-documentary from 2017 called Anti-Abortion Crusaders: Inside the African American Abortion Battle. It is a fair review of a few of the players and I recommend you actually watch it. Whatever side you’re on, take a little time to review how we got to this place:

DECEMBER 15, 2017
FRONTLINE takes an inside look at the African-American anti-abortion movement in the United States. This short film follows a group of anti-abortion activists and their work inside the black community. The centerpiece of their message: “The most dangerous place for an African-American child is in the womb.”

An anonymous Anti-Abortion African American wrote the following in the comment section after watching the above 15 minute Frontline mini-documentary from 2017:

“You only featured two African-Americans (although great fighters in this abolitionist movement) in the fight against abortion’s hugely disproportionate impact in the black community. There are many, many more leaders and many, many more efforts. You didn’t bother to feature Dr. Alveda King (niece of Martin Luther King, Jr), Star Parker of C.U.R.E., Day Gardner of National Black Prolife Union, Catherine Davis of The Restoration Project, Dr. Ashley Harrell of Black People Against Abortion, or our own organization–The Radiance Foundation–that was the first to launch public ad campaigns addressing eugenics, racism, and the documented targeting of the black community by the abortion industry. Our billboards (the “Black and Unwanted” featured in this fact-challenged piece) and the messaging could not be refuted, nor taken down, by “reproductive justice” groups. This piece doesn’t address the fact that abortion and poverty have taken the place of fathers. And yes, we’ve addressed healthcare disparities across a broad spectrum, for years. PBS never bothered to take an ‘inside look’. These campaigns aren’t designed to divide, contrary to the ludicrous charge of the Planned Parenthood executive, they’re designed to stop the violent dividing of beautiful black lives and educate mothers and fathers about the incredible pregnancy/parenting resources that are available to them in their own communities (via pregnancy care centers, maternity homes and family-based programs). When more black babies are aborted than born alive in the birthplace of Planned Parenthood, it’s celebrated by those who think that aborting our future is “empowerment”. For an historian, Cynthia Greenly paints an historically-challenged picture that abortion was somehow a white issue that pulled in black people. Perhaps she should study people like prolife Fannie Lou Hamer who denounced Planned Parenthood in the 60s and 70s, or the co-founder of the National Right to Life Committee–Dr. Mildred Jefferson–who was the first black woman to graduate from Harvard Medical School and become the first female surgeon at Boston General. Sadly, there’s nothing historical about this piece; it’s just more pro-abortion, pro-Planned Parenthood propaganda from PBS.”

“Miss America” colored pencil illustration by artist K. J. Legry 2022

“the Burning Bush and the Burning Bra” is a Pro-Choice Feminist Site

Duke is Slang for Poop

Of the many things I could include in my feminist notebook; and still I would not…

Not my history, my ‘herstory’ isn’t even a word according to the dicks who sleuth common usage most worthy of inclusivity in the so-called dictionary.

John Wayne the “Duke” calling himself Genghis Khan (the real Mongolian Conqueror)

I was asked by a man, where all the mothers are who should be out protesting the current supreme court, using the slogan ABORT the COURT as they are poised to reverse Roe V. Wade? To which I replied, the mothers are protesting and they’re called feminists. Mothers and wives were always the feminists who fought for control over their own bodies. Who fought for their human rights. Who fought for the right to have an abortion. Who fought for their right to decide when to have a baby.

Pro-choice Catholic men seem to feel a need to defend their religion side by side with the issue. To which I say FUCK your religion. Women shouldn’t have to listen to you babel on about your spirituality before you defend women as full human beings. It’s YOUR FAULT this is happening. Catholic extremists sitting on the highest court of the law do not represent human rights. The court is corrupt. Coney Barrett is not above me. She is unfit to judge me. Clarence Thomas is not above me. He is not fit to judge me. Sam Alito is not above me. He is not fit to judge me…

The war on women will not end with men victorious.

Ain’t Gonna Mattel on Ida B. Wells

I Ain’t gonna Mattel on Ida B. Wells and I ain’t gonna Tattle neither.

I was reading about the Lynchings and I stood there gawking at the BarbieDoll kinda like it was in BlackFace, LongLegged and too tall to be Ida B. Wells. Didn’t turn out like I thought. I cannot fathom buying her. Comes down to plastic. I could directly ask of her GrandDaughter, So, That’s how she’s gonna get Credit and Take what’s Due? But I HoldTight to something about her being small on Ida’s lap, LongTime ago. Think better of it, I beg my heart. I Beg My Heart.

The New idea of the Dangerous Individual and the New Jim Crow (Thinking about Michel Foucault and Michelle Alexander) in the age of Prison Reforms

In 1928, Sing Sing sent a convicted murderer to the electric chair. But this execution was different – the woman, Ruth Synder, became the first victim of the electric chair ever photographed. A Chicago Tribune photographer named Tom Howard smuggled a camera into the execution hidden up his pants leg, and snapped the infamous photograph as Snyder was killed. The next morning, Snyder was front page news on the New York Daily News, under the headline “Dead!”

Michel Foucault

Michel Foucault (1926–1984) was a French historian and philosopher, associated with the structuralist and post-structuralist movements. He has had strong influence not only (or even primarily) in philosophy but also in a wide range of humanistic and social scientific disciplines.

First published Wed Apr 2, 2003; substantive revision Tue May 22, 2018
by Gary Gutting Copyright © 2018 

3.4 History of the Prison

Discipline and Punish, published in 1975, is a genealogical study of the development of the “gentler” modern way of imprisoning criminals rather than torturing or killing them. While recognizing the element of genuinely enlightened reform, Foucault particularly emphasizes how such reform also becomes a vehicle of more effective control: “to punish less, perhaps; but certainly to punish better”. He further argues that the new mode of punishment becomes the model for control of an entire society, with factories, hospitals, and schools modeled on the modern prison. We should not, however, think that the deployment of this model was due to the explicit decisions of some central controlling agency. Foucault’s analysis shows how techniques and institutions, developed for different and often quite innocuous purposes, converged to create the modern system of disciplinary power.

At the core of Foucault’s picture of modern disciplinary society are three primary techniques of control: hierarchical observation, normalizing judgment, and the examination. To a great extent, control over people (power) can be achieved merely by observing them. So, for example, the tiered rows of seats in a stadium not only makes it easy for spectators to see but also for guards or security cameras to scan the audience. A perfect system of observation would allow one “guard” to see everything (a situation approximated, as we shall see, in Jeremy Bentham’s Panopticon). But since this is not usually possible, there is a need for “relays” of observers, hierarchically ordered, through whom observed data passes from lower to higher levels.

A distinctive feature of modern power (disciplinary control) is its concern with what people have not done (nonobservence), with, that is, a person’s failure to reach required standards. This concern illustrates the primary function of modern disciplinary systems: to correct deviant behavior. The main goal is not revenge (as in the case of the tortures of premodern punishment) but reform, where reform means primarily coming to live by society’s standards or norms. Discipline through imposing precise and detailed norms (“normalization”) is quite different from the older system of judicial punishment, which merely judges each action as allowed by the law or not allowed by the law and does not say that those judged are “normal” or “abnormal”. This idea of normalization is pervasive in our society: e.g., national standards for educational programs, for medical practice, for industrial processes and products.

The examination (for example, of students in schools, of patients in hospitals) is a method of control that combines hierarchical observation with normalizing judgment. It is a prime example of what Foucault calls power/knowledge, since it combines into a unified whole “the deployment of force and the establishment of truth” (1975 [1977: 184]). It both elicits the truth about those who undergo the examination (tells what they know or what is the state of their health) and controls their behavior (by forcing them to study or directing them to a course of treatment).

On Foucault’s account, the relation of power and knowledge is far closer than in the familiar Baconian engineering model, for which “knowledge is power” means that knowledge is an instrument of power, although the two exist quite independently. Foucault’s point is rather that, at least for the study of human beings, the goals of power and the goals of knowledge cannot be separated: in knowing we control and in controlling we know.

The examination also situates individuals in a “field of documentation”. The results of exams are recorded in documents that provide detailed information about the individuals examined and allow power systems to control them (e.g., absentee records for schools, patients’ charts in hospitals). On the basis of these records, those in control can formulate categories, averages, and norms that are in turn a basis for knowledge. The examination turns the individual into a “case”—in both senses of the term: a scientific example and an object of care. Caring is always also an opportunity for control.

Bentham’s Panopticon is, for Foucault, a paradigmatic architectural model of modern disciplinary power. It is a design for a prison, built so that each inmate is separated from and invisible to all the others (in separate “cells”) and each inmate is always visible to a monitor situated in a central tower. Monitors do not in fact always see each inmate; the point is that they could at any time. Since inmates never know whether they are being observed, they must behave as if they are always seen and observed. As a result, control is achieved more by the possibility of internal monitoring of those controlled than by actual supervision or heavy physical constraints.

The principle of the Panopticon can be applied not only to prisons but also to any system of disciplinary power (a factory, a hospital, a school). And, in fact, although Bentham himself was never able to build it, its principle has come to pervade aspects of modern society. It is the instrument through which modern discipline has been able to replace pre-modern sovereignty (kings, judges) as the fundamental power relation.

Foucault’s genealogy follows Nietzsche as well as existential phenomenology in that it aims to bring the body into the focus of history. Rather than histories of mentalities or ideas, genealogies are “histories of the body”. They examine the historical practices through which the body becomes an object of techniques and deployments of power. In Discipline and Punish, Foucault shows how disciplinary techniques produce “docile bodies”: bodies of prisoners, soldiers, workers and schoolchildren were subjected to disciplinary power in order to make them more useful and at the same time easier to control. The human body became a machine the functioning of which could be optimized, calculated, and improved. Its functions, movements and capabilities were broken down into narrow segments, analyzed in detail and recomposed in a maximally effective way.

By historicizing the body, Foucault’s genealogies also have distinctive philosophical implications. They question the naturalistic explanatory framework that understands human nature—uncovered by science—as the basis for such complex areas of behavior as sexuality, insanity or criminality. A key idea in Foucault’s historical analysis of the modern penal institutions is that they operate with markedly different rationality than those that are aimed solely at retribution through pain. He effectively reveals the double role of the present system: it aims at both punishing and correcting, and therefore it mixes juridical and scientific practices. Foucault argued that the intervention of criminal psychiatry in the field of law that occurred at the beginning of the nineteenth century, for example, was part of the gradual shift in penal practice from a focus on the crime to a focus on the criminal, from the action to agency and personality. The new idea of the “dangerous individual” referred to the danger potentially inherent in the criminal person. The new rationality could not function in an effective way in the existing system without the emergence of new forms of scientific knowledge such as criminal psychiatry that enabled the characterization of criminals in themselves, beneath their acts. Foucault suggests that this shift resulted in the emergence of new, insidious forms of domination and violence. The critical impact of Discipline and Punish thus lies in its ability to reveal the processes of subject formation that operate in modern penal institutions. The modern prison does not just punish by depriving its inmates of liberty, it categorizes them as delinquent subjects, types of people with a dangerous, criminal nature.

(photo from George Eastman House) Sing Sing was notorious for executing criminals. From 1891 to 1963, the prison executed more people than any other in New York state, for a total of over 600 executions. Sing Sing’s electric chair dated back to 1891; the chair got a lot of work, with the prison executing 303 people between 1920 and 1941. After 1922, many executions occurred in the “death house,” a state-of-the-art facility with an execution chamber and a hospital to perform postmortem autopsies to ensure death.
“The New Jim Crow” – Author Michelle Alexander, George E. Kent Lecture 2013
Michelle Alexander, highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, Associate Professor of Law at Ohio State University, and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, delivers the 30th Annual George E. Kent Lecture, in honor of the late George E. Kent, who was one of the earliest tenured African American professors at the University of Chicago. The Annual George E. Kent Lecture is organized and sponsored by the Organization of Black Students, the Black Student Law Association, and the Students for a Free Society.

*Note: You may learn more about Ruth Snyder and the photographs used for this post here:

Don’t You F*ck with My Energy

“Brujas” (music video) by PRINCESS NOKIA From the album ‘1992 Deluxe’ available on Rough Trade Records:
Brujas [Intro] I’m the supreme, I’m the supreme [Verse 1] We is them ghetto witches, speakin’ in tongue bitches Fall on the floor, got sage on the door We is them ghetto witches, speakin’ in tongue bitches Fall on the floor, got sage on the door We is them ghetto witches, speakin’ in tongue bitches Fall on the floor, got sage on the door We is them ghetto witches, speakin’ in tongue bitches Fall on the floor, got sage on the door Talk shit, we can cast spells, long weaves, long nails Corn rows, pig tails, baby fathers still in jail Good witches, I fuck with, bad bitches, we run shit Four bitches, four corners, North, East, West, South shit Good witches, I fuck with, hopped off of my broomstick Witchcraft, bitch craft, light magic, it’s nothing [Chorus] Orisha, my altar Orisha, my altar Orisha, my altar Got coins on the counter [Verse 2] I’m that Black a-Rican bruja straight out from the Yoruba And my people come from Africa diaspora, Cuba And you mix that Arawak, that original people I’m that Black Native American, I vanquish all evil I’m that Black a-Rican bruja straight out from the Yoruba And my ancestors Nigerian, my grandmas was brujas And I come from an island and it’s called Puerto Rico And it’s one of the smallest but it got the most people [Chorus] Orisha, my altar Orisha, my altar Orisha, my altar Got coins on the counter Got coins on the counter [Bridge] Don’t you fuck with my energy Don’t you fuck with my energy Don’t you fuck with my energy Don’t you fuck with my energy Don’t you fuck with my energy Don’t you fuck with my energy Don’t you fuck with my energy Don’t you fuck with my energy [Verse 3] Castin’ spells with my cousins, I’m the head of this coven I’m a shapeshiftin’ bitch, you don’t know who you lovin’ Better light you a candle, I heard the nighttime was black And if you don’t watch your step the greatest bitch will be back I cast a circle in white and I can vanquish your spite And if you hex me with hate then I’ma conjure the light Your evil ways put no fight, I ain’t no queen of the night I’m a bruja, I’m a bruja, and I’ma dress in all white [Outro] I’m the supreme, I’m the supreme I’m the supreme, I’m the supreme I’m the supreme, I’m the supreme I’m the supreme, I’m the supreme

Directed by Asli Baykal Co Directed and Concept by Destiny Frasqueri Production Company: TANK Productions Line Producer: Ian Lawton King Assistant Director: Tracy Antonopoulos Director of Photography: Ben L. Nicholas 1st AC: Ryan Nocella 2nd AC: Govinda Angulo Production Assistant: Flynn Roddam & Jess Sweat Sound: Deanna Williams Editor: Asli Baykal & Adrien Cothier Additional Editting: Dean Marcial Colorist: Josh Bohoskey
Posted with permission from the artist: “Lilac Mariposa y el Camaleón” (Mother Nature Wildcard) from Girl Soda Atlas illustrated by K. J. Legry

Looking a Gift Horse in the Mouth (The Oral Tradition)

Lyla June “All Nations Rise ” (Official Music Video) September 2016 (This video is being posted for NO commercial purpose. All rights belong to the artist, Lyla June.)

Grey Rock liked to notice the white women.  It wasn’t just that he couldn’t help notice them;  he liked to notice them.  It was a registry of what he considered their flaws, the first and foremost being, that they were white.  He subconsciously established his pattern of interest in the white women and convinced himself that what he recorded about them in unsurprising snapshots was truly of no interest to him, excepting to reenforce  the distance he felt from them.  Or maybe it was the distance he felt for them.  Anyhow, he liked to note his distant interest.  His way of observing them, while knowing about them and what kept them separate from him, were his excuses for his defensiveness.  He wanted you to know it was emotionally charged for him, but he’d been taught quietness and so he kept his words generalized and in general agreement with the others.

Grey Rock liked to see where the white women were denied.  Where they were awkward.  Where they didn’t fit in.  He liked to imagine them wanting him, wanting into this ~his world and he liked that he knew, before ever laying his eyes on any of them, that he’d never be open to them.  They were all tourists as far as he was concerned and although he might allow them to give him their money, he’d keep a tight business clock and refuse overtime. In fact,  he’d reserve his right to leave the “Gone Fishin’” sign up indefinitely.  He’d make it a point not to post warnings to any unattended cars left in the parking lot about locking their gas caps.  He’d gladly leave the white women stranded on empty so his buddy, Yellow Coyote, could muster up some revenue for his tow-truck.

Grey Rock noticed the long blond braid on the white woman who wanted to take selfies with Salmon Woman.  He noticed the zipper and velour of a salmon colored leisure suit that was worn by the white woman losing at pick-up sticks and drinking mimosas in the casino.  He noticed the lavender aerobic shoes and the green sun-visor, the white bikini and the suntan lotion that he reasonably distinguished from sun-screen by noticing the color of the white woman’s long bronzed legs.  He noticed the white women’s gestures as begging for his attention. The way they posed, asked for it.  He noticed their hair and however they fussed over it and he noticed what was tight or scantily clad about their clothing, but if push came to shove, he never would be able to pick out their faces in a line up.  They had sunglasses, but no faces.  They wore lipstick, but had nothing to say.  They were called the white women, but they had no names.  

He liked noticing these things about the white women.
This was the distance he wanted them to know about, 
the distance that he would say behind their backs, 
that would finally get back to them.

Grey Rock knew the rich white women from the city were impressed by his brother, who rode the bull in rodeo.  He watched them being trophied around, meant to be worn on each arm like a pair of expensive cufflinks, a temporary risk worth taking and bluffing over, before gambling them away in a game of poker.  He noticed how it didn’t take many drinks before the white women agreed to be cufflinks on some other bull-rider’s arms.  He noticed the white women grant lap dances like they were playing musical chairs until there were no chairs left.

Grey Rock liked the expressions used by the Old Timer when he wanted everyone to move aside and make way for him.  For example, “…long before you were tugging at your mother’s tit,” was the line that often followed the bravado and boast of something the Old Timer had “mastered” and would be schooling you on.  It always drew grins from the younger men who tried to pull rank on him.  Reducing them to infants while conjuring tits was considered verbal shivving with a salty crust.  Grey Rock learned early on that real men love jerked meat no matter how bad it is for them.  The Old Timer was admired for having survived one heart attack and quadruple bi-pass surgery in order to tell the tale.    

Sweet meat
Dried buffalo jerky~
Pulling against a man’s molars
Something both juicy and tough to chew on
and sink into
and suck hollow
and chew on some more
A real man makes time for his meat;
He savors it,
the Old Timer tutored Grey Rock.
And he confided low and lovingly
how smoked salmon is tender
even when she chews

Grey Rock believed cooking fell under the category of women’s work, something his grandmother passed down, only teaching her secret recipes to certain women in the family, excluding three of the sisters and including only one granddaughter who was expected to serve as shaman in her stead, upon her death after age 104 or so.

That’s how Grey Rock liked to think of them.
That’s how Grey Rock liked to make believe.

Grey Rock was distracted when the traditional dancing was going on, only keeping vaguely aware of the call for changes in drum or direction when the pitch rose above the drone.  He had his preconceived eye fixed on the encircling of the fire and which foot stomped in tandem with a look to the right and he remembered what he was supposed to recall about the original story, where out of the smoke and firelight-shadows, warriors fell from their mustangs as their spirits joined the thunder clouds.  

Grey Rock liked to notice the white women behave themselves after being chastised by the Old Timer.  

“You better be holding that pole-a-roid up ‘cuz you want me to snap a picture of your tits,” the Old Timer growled at the white woman with the long blond braid, which made the white woman frown and turn shades between pink and red and silently but rather quickly slip her Go-Pro into her leather-tooled pocketbook.  

Grey Rock thought about how the white women were spying on his people in plain view, and he thought to himself, you may witness this ritual but you will not capture it. 

Grey Rock didn’t know much about social media, but he figured a stolen image would bring in more revenue than what the white women paid to gain entrance to the pow wow and he knew the Old Timer wasn’t about to let their traditions go viral or to the highest bid at auction like some wild west show.  

Grey Rock thought of Eagle Feather’s defeat if the white women managed to smuggle out any photos of the dance.  He looked around for his brother and when he found him, he asked him if he was up to busting some cameras.  His brother shrugged and when he introduced himself to the white woman with the long blond braid, he wondered if she wanted to take pictures of him riding the bull.  Grey Rock noticed the white woman turn shades of pink and red again as she smiled and he watched the two of them head for the stadium.  She took his brother’s arm when he held out his elbow and Grey Rock snickered when he thought of how his brother was missing one of his cufflinks. 

Grey Rock slowed down to cruise through the tourists that considered his people to be the rugged vistas on their scenic route.  He noticed how his people’s customs provided unique backdrops for the white women when they were playing golf in their tiny white skirts.  He heard them complain about the handicaps to their swings due to canyon winds and creek bed traps, while ignoring the grey smoke of the sage fires to the east.  

Grey Rock decided that the white woman in the bikini…

who wanted him to leer at her by the way she applied her suntan lotion, by the way she knew he was staring at her as she arched her back, by the way she was inviting him to ogle when she bent over herself… 

was cooking herself  
better than buffalo jerky, 
and ringing the dinner bell.

Grey Rock overheard Salmon Woman instructing the white women who had clumsily joined the Green dance, meant for tourists, to say, “wy-kan-ush.”  The white women giggled and clapped and bounced up and down after collectively pronouncing the word.  

Grey Rock eavesdropped, them practicing it and correcting one another where they’d rejoined for mixed umbrella-drinks in the lodge hot tub surrounded by cedar wood carvings.  He noticed the top half of their swim suits; the turquoise colored string bikini,  the shiny silver Speedo that looked like fish scales, the one piece with the sheer hot pink netting slitted and stretched across the cleavage, the leopard spotted number with a scooping v-line, and the navy-blue tube-style with side-ruching up to her pits. The buoyant white women reminded him of genetically modified farmed-fish; easy pickings and degraded, swimming in shallow tanks of water, far from the river’s wild song where the real wy-kan-ush are micro-chipped by scientists and placed on an endangered species list.  

Posted with permission from the artist: “Sun Dancer” (Lakota Tribe) with Robins (from the Wildcard Deck) Mother Nature Series (the Girl Soda Atlas) (colored pencil) illustrated by K. J. Legry

What to Make of Isaac Asimov, Sci-Fi Giant and Dirty Old Man?

I just read ‘I-Robot’ and am now part way through ‘Caves of Steel’ and as I delved into the author’s life I came across this article by Jay Gabler.

Despite Calling Himself a Feminist the Author of the Foundation Stories Was a Serial Harasser 

By Jay Gabler (May 14, 2020) all excerpts are from the online Literature Review: Lit Hub

Image (above) used for the article by Isaac Asimov written exclusively for Penthouse magazine’s December 1972 issue originally titled “See You in the Hereafter.”

The Sensuous Dirty Old Man (1971) is credited to “Dr. A”… but “the secret is out,” admits a paperback edition, naming the author as Isaac Asimov, “undoubtedly the best writer in America” per the Mensa Bulletin. A response to a then-popular book called The Sensuous Woman, Asimov’s book instructs dirty old men on how to leer (“don’t peep at girls—STARE!”), make suggestive remarks (“What a magnificent dress… or am I merely judging by the contents?”), and fondle.

The sensuous dirty old man has learned the fine art of the touch, that of making it so gentle and innocent that the young lady involved can scarcely believe it is happening and therefore ignores it. This presents an exercise of innocence both on the part of the toucher and touchee that should bring tears of envy to all beholders.

January 2, 2020 marked the centenary of Isaac Asimov’s birth; at least, of the birth date the late author celebrated. (In his native Russia, the date of Asimov’s birth wasn’t precisely recorded.) The anniversary passed with little notice, although Asimov was a towering presence in science fiction and one of the most prolific writers to ever live. A Golden Age grand master and a protegé of Astounding Science Fiction editor John W. Campbell, Asimov coined the word “robotics” and wrote the Foundation series.

The Foundation stories beat J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings to win a 1966 Hugo Award for Best All-Time Series. Today, Tolkien commands a much more visible pop-culture presence than Asimov, but the Foundation stories are still widely read; bring them up in any group, and one or two people are likely to say they devoured the books.

From the 1960s through his death in 1992, Asimov was an iconic celebrity regarded as an authority on science and science fiction alike. The author of hundreds of books, he could speak lucidly on virtually any subject and made frequent media appearances. Today, though, his image—with its wide smile behind heavy black eyeglass frames, its bushy gray mutton chops, and its ubiquitous bolo tie—is most recognizable from vintage book jackets.

That image is set to gain fresh visibility with the forthcoming release of an Apple TV series based on the Foundation stories (in pre-production, filming of the show was postponed at the end of March because of the coronavirus). The original stories were published in science fiction magazines from 1942 to 1950 and later collected in a trilogy of books, ultimately supplemented with four late-career Foundation novels. They chronicle a visionary scientist’s efforts to relieve chaos and suffering during an interregnum between distant-future galactic empires.Repeatedly, women told Asimov he was out of line; many more didn’t speak, likely cowed by his celebrity and the double standard.

To read Asimov is to escape into a world where infinite progress seems tantalizingly possible. If you’re inclined to spend a lot of time with Asimov’s work, you’ll come to an appreciation of his many gifts: his wide-ranging intellect, his amiable writing style, his optimistic spirit, and the breadth of his imagination.

You’ll also, however, notice a frequently lascivious attention to his female characters. If you begin to suspect that Asimov looked at actual women that way, you’ll be troubled by interactions that the author himself reveals in his two-volume autobiography: In Memory Yet Green, published in 1979, with In Joy Still Felt following in 1980.

In Memory Yet Green recounts a 1952 incident in which writer Judith Merril seemed to hit on Asimov, inspiring the author, by his own account, to speed away. When writing the book he invited Merril to comment, and Asimov included her response in a footnote. (Italics in the book.)

The fact is that Isaac (who was at that time a spectacularly uxorious and virtuous husband) apparently felt obliged to leer, ogle, pat, and proposition as an act of sociability. When it went, occasionally, beyond purely social enjoyability, there seemed no way to clue him in. […] Asimov was known, in those days, to various women, as “the man with a hundred hands.” On [one] occasion, the third or fourth time his hand patted my rear end, I reached out to clutch his crotch. He never manhandled me in vain again.

The following year, Asimov explained, he began to have extramarital affairs. His first encounter left him “riddled with guilt,” he wrote, but he went on to boast that “once I gathered I was good in bed, I was automatically far more self-assured in every other respect, and I believe this contributed to the mid-1950s as my peak period in science fiction.”

Asimov writes that at his publisher Doubleday, “my small peculiarities were becoming known and allowed for… any woman I overlooked in my all-embracing suavity was liable to be offended.” He explains that “my attitude toward young women amused everyone generally,” and that he came to “suspect that new girls were warned of my feckless lechery in advance so that they wouldn’t run screaming or, worse yet, bop me on the nose.”

About that. “When I am feeling particularly suave during the autographing sessions, which is almost all the time,” he wrote in Joy Still Felt, “I kiss each young woman who wants an autograph and have found, to my delight, that they tend to cooperate enthusiastically in that particular activity.”

As documented by Stephanie Zvan, Asimov was so infamous for this behavior by the early 1960s that the organizer of a Chicago science fiction convention offered to “furnish some suitable posteriors” for a talk about, and demonstration of, “The Positive Power of Posterior Pinching.”Whatever the author’s conscious ideals may have been, his female characters tended towards restrictive stereotypes.

“I have no doubt I could give a stimulating talk that would stiffen the manly fiber of everyone in the audience,” Asimov responded. However, permission would need to be sought from those being pinched, and “if they say ‘no,’ it will be ‘no.’ Of course, I could be persuaded to do so on very short notice; even after the convention began, if the posteriors in question were of particularly compelling interest.”

By 1969, Asimov himself reported, he was being described by longtime friend Frederick Pohl as someone who “turned into a dirty old man at the age of fifteen.” Asimov, by his own account, was “perfectly willing to embrace the title; I even use it on myself without qualms.” He wasn’t kidding. Two years later, he published The Sensuous Dirty Old Man.

I have seen many a dirty old man with an arm that began at the lady’s waist, shifted by such slow and gentle degrees as to pass eventually through the warmth of the armpit to the budding softness of the maidenly bosom, without that shift ever being noticed by the young lady. At least, she gave no signs of noticing.

For “the man with a hundred hands,” this “satire” was rather on-the-nose. “Laugh yourself to death,” raved the Detroit Free Press.

Pohl’s wife, Asimov learned after her death, “thought I was a ‘creep’ and wouldn’t have me in the apartment.” She wasn’t the only one who spoke up. When Asimov brought his usual “suave” self to a meeting of the National Association of Non-Parents (N.O.N.) in 1975, the New York Timesreported on what the author described in his autobiography as an “imbroglio.” In the Timesaccount,

One of the most heated parts of the convention came during a public discussion of whether N.O.N. should take a stand on feminism. It was prompted by the disgruntlement of several N.O.N. members who thought that Isaac Asimov, the author, had introduced Ellen Peck, author of The Baby Trap and a N.O.N. officer, in a “sexist” way at the convention’s general session. He described Miss Peck, who was wearing a clingy beige knit pants suit with her long blond hair in a Brigitte Bardot style, as “a sexual tornado.”

In his autobiography, Asimov added a detail the Times failed to mention: a dirty limerick he shared “to loosen up the early-morning audience.”

By the time he published his autobiography, Asimov was divorced from his first wife Gertrude and married to the writer Janet Jeppson. Even the first time he met Jeppson in 1956, Asimov later admitted, he cracked a blue joke. As Jeppson proffered a book for Asimov to sign, he asked about her field. When she said she was a psychiatrist, he responded, “Good. Let’s get on the couch together.” Reader, she married him.

Asimov enjoyed substantive, mutually rewarding relationships with peers like Jeppson, Judy-Lynn del Rey, and Jennifer Brehl, a Doubleday staffer in the 1980s when she impressed Asimov with her insights. Brehl eventually became Asimov’s editor and “like a second daughter” to the author, in the words of his biographer Michael White. Given these relationships, how could Asimov embrace “dirty old man” as a personal brand?

The answer is tied up in personal and social history. As a self-conscious, sexually inexperienced young man, Asimov learned that his lightning wit was a social lubricant. From early on, he sprinkled titillating quips into his banter, using his physical ungainliness to frame his lascivious persona as a colossal joke.

This was never a safe prospect, though. Even before he’d achieved celebrity, his manner could be offensive, especially when his quips were precisely aimed. His autobiography contains accounts of women who’d tweak his insecurity about his own body, only to find pointed and uncomplimentary jabs shot back at them. A woman who mocked the author’s growing belly but shrieked at a response criticizing her chest, wrote Asimov, “could hand it out but apparently didn’t like to get it back.”

Asimov’s willingness to go there—in both verbal and physical terms—continued as his fame grew. He experienced mutual interest often enough to reinforce his behavior, but he failed to respect the line between reciprocal flirtation and harassment.

Repeatedly, women told Asimov he was out of line; many more didn’t speak, likely cowed by his celebrity and the double standard. White cites a friend’s wife reacting angrily to having her bottom forcefully pinched by the author, who apparently made it a habit.

“God, Asimov,” she snapped. “Why do you always do that? It is extremely painful and besides, don’t you realize, it’s very degrading.”

In one of the most public spectacles involving Asimov’s “usual suave self,” he appalled his wife and teenage daughter by propositioning a female guest on The Dick Cavett Show in 1970. By the following year, Asimov had moved out, divorce negotiations were underway, and he was back on Cavett wearing a bra on his face to promote The Sensuous Dirty Old Man.Gender issues aren’t the only reason Asimov’s books have proved resistant to successful adaptation: although his plots were clever and his ideas were big, he wasn’t a particularly visual writer.

Chronicling even more harassment, Alec Nevala-Lee convincingly argues in Public Books that Asimov’s behavior was enabled by other men, and some women, who helped him officially play it off with books like The Sensuous Dirty Old Man. “In general,” writes Nevala-Lee, “Asimov chose targets who were unlikely to protest directly, such as fans and secretaries, and spared women whom he saw as professionally useful.”

On the page, Asimov considered himself a feminist, decrying “male chauvinism” and arguing that women should be given wider professional opportunities. He was proud of his fictional robopsychologist Susan Calvin—but the cost that character paid for her extraordinary abilities was to have her physical unattractiveness constantly remarked upon.

“Susan Calvin was a plain spinster,” Asimov wrote in his memoir I. Asimov, “a highly intelligent ‘robopsychologist’ who fought it out in a man’s world without fear or favor and who invariably won. These were ‘women’s lib’ stories twenty years before their time, and I got very little credit for that.”

One of Asimov’s most important early robot stories, “Liar!” (1941), turns on precisely the fact of Calvin’s embarrassment after she dares aspire to be sexually appealing, wearing makeup to her job at US Robot & Mechanical Men, Inc. When Calvin realizes that a well-intentioned robot has lied to her about a coworker’s mutual attraction, “the inexpertly applied rouge made a pair of nasty red splotches upon her chalk-white face.”

Whatever the author’s conscious ideals may have been, his female characters tended towards restrictive stereotypes. Those characters range from Artemisia oth Hinriad, a comely royal who just can’t resist the man-of-action hero of The Stars, Like Dust (1951), to Bayta Darell, a sensible newlywed whose feminine compassion underlies a pivotal plot development in the original Foundation stories.

That was, of course, consistent with how many female characters were treated in genre fiction of the era: readers won’t be surprised to find a submissive space princess in a Truman-era science fiction novel. There’s another level of queasiness, though, in the way Asimov’s attention tends to run all up and down his fictional women’s figures.The author’s acclaimed early work was published at a time when sensuality in science fiction was strictly limited.

Nor is that attention always on characters like Artemisia, a stereotypically gorgeous young woman ready to be painted for the cover of a pulp. When Bayta Darell meets her father-in-law Fran in a 1945 Foundation story, the older man turns to Bayta with an “appreciative stare.” She recites her age, height, and weight to save him the effort of guessing, but Fran corrects her and says she actually weighs 120, not 110.

He laughed loudly at her flush. Then he said to the company in general, “You can always tell a woman’s weight by her upper arm—with due experience, of course. Do you want a drink, Bay?”

The female character with the most complex journey in Asimov’s future history is Gladia Delmarre, a stunning Solarian who proves well-matched with Earthman Lije Baley in a quartet of robot novels. After the books dismiss Baley’s wife Jezebel (an ironic moniker), Gladia and Lije have a restrained flirtation that finally blossoms into star-crossed love.

Asimov’s 1980s, though, were also the decade that gave us Bliss: a curvaceous earth mother who appears in two Foundation novels. She plays supple lover to the aged Janov Pelorat, nag to the breathtakingly rude Golan Trevize (“She’s bottom-heavy!” he snorts), and instantly attached mother to an orphan child with dangerous powers.

The author’s acclaimed early work was published at a time when sensuality in science fiction was strictly limited. After focusing largely on nonfiction throughout the 1960s and 70s, Asimov returned prolifically to fiction in the 80s, a more open era. He became more frank, but seemed incapable of writing about sexuality in a warm, human manner. (A rare Asimov novel from the 70s, The Gods Themselves, centered on the somewhat abstract sexual practices of a non-humanoid alien race.)

A typical late-career passage comes in Foundation and Earth (1986) when a starship lands on a secluded world and Trevize appraises the topless woman who appears to greet the visitors.

She was not much more than 1.5 meters in height, and her breasts, though shapely, were small. Yet she did not seem unripe. The nipples were large and the areolae dark, though that might be the result of her brownish skin color.

The forthcoming Foundation show, with David Goyer as showrunner, seems to be remixing the stories’ sexual politics: at least three women have been cast as characters who are male in the books. Robyn Asimov, the author’s daughter from his first marriage, is an executive producer.

Gender issues aren’t the only reason Asimov’s books have proved resistant to successful adaptation: although his plots were clever and his ideas were big, he wasn’t a particularly visual writer. The best-known screen adaptations are the mawkish Bicentennial Man (1999), starring Robin Williams as a robot who wants to be human, and I, Robot (2004) with Will Smith.

The I, Robot movie says it’s “suggested by Isaac Asimov’s book,” and even that cautious credit may be putting it a bit strongly. Asimov was suspicious of Hollywood, but not in his wildest nightmares could he have imagined Susan Calvin blowing robots away with a machine gun. Nor would one ever use the word “plain” to describe Bridget Moynahan, the actor and model cast as Calvin.

“To loyal fans of science fiction and Isaac Asimov,” wrote the author’s daughter Robyn in SF Gate upon the movie’s release, “the only thing more disconcerting than robots attacking humans—a violation of the author’s First Law of Robotics—is that the camera filming I, Robot focused clearly on a buff Will Smith in the shower but not on the statuesque Bridget Moynahan, as Asimov would have preferred.”

In the film Smith plays Del, a cop assigned to investigate a suspicious death at US Robotics. In an early scene, he steps into an elevator with Moynahan, who says she’s been instructed “to assist you in any way possible.”

Taking a beat and turning appreciatively to face his host, Del smiles. “Real-ly?” he says. “Okay.” Smith leaves it at that. Asimov, in all likelihood, would not have.

Jay Gabler is a writer and editor living in Minneapolis. He is a digital producer at Minnesota Public Radio’s The Current, and is a co-founder of The Tangential, as well as being theater critic at City Pages. He’s co-written, or co-edited Sexts from the Sea (2016), Bright Lights, Twin Cities (2014), Future Cities (2013), Sociology for Dummies (2010), and Reconstructing the University (2006).