Friday, July 10, 2009


(From CAJINY. Click to enlarge.) Our Bell surrogate in each panel is neither fully outside nor fully inside. Her head peers out the window at another half-being. (I like how the "Hey!" dangles less violently than the toy.) In the fourth panel she's dressing, slipping into another inside before she sets out.

I will use no silly words to describe this consistent phenomenon.

Recall Bell's chair transformation: she turns herself into an object on the side of the road ripe for domestication. She is quickly taken in and when nobody's around she transforms out into her new home. In another story Bell is imprisoned by a behemoth. In another she flaunts the police to hide inside a drain pipe. I don't read this motif as a women-are-always-trapped or return-to-the-womb thing. I think Bell is keen on showing us that there are benign insides, that there's a choice of insides, that certain insides are maneuverable. "Cecil and Jordan in New York," the title story, is about a relationship souring into indifference; in reaction, Bell wills herself into a chair. Being in New York is where it begins. You're in New York, okay, now where in New York to go? Where else? What have we gotten ourselves into?
Teddy Roosevelt's next.

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