- Mother Jones wrote about Jennie Lamere, who recently won the "best in show" award at the national TVnext Hack event by helping fans avoid spoilers on Twitter. She did it by writing "Twivo, a new program that allows Twitter users to censor their feeds from mentioning a certain TV show (and its characters) for a set time period." She was the only solo woman participating. "Hackathons (which have nothing to do with illegal hacking) bring together programmers, developers, and designers, who compete to code an innovative new program in a limited amount of time." Lamere has already been approached by a company to market her creation. "She came up with the idea for Twivo the night before the competition, and it took her 10 hours and 150 lines of code to complete." ( Read more... )
My co-worker laughed at me for complaining that the multiple choice weekly quizzes in my Criminal Justice class are too easy. But she also doesn't know who Hermione Granger is. I'm vaguely appalled, but then I called Mr. Havoc to explain that I was stopping at the gaming store that sold Reaper minis, and he reminded me that I'm such a nerd I have a favorite brand of miniature figurines. So there you go.
Though I would like to point out that Reaper has some more realistic female figs in with the babetastic ones. So it's feminist gaming. Sort of. But at least I can have a mini that looks like an actual fighter when I'm gaming.
Boy, let me tell you . . . getting replies from people off Craig's List really makes you wonder how much of the human race manages to dress itself in the morning. When I said we were "somewhat flexible" about move-in dates, I didn't mean that you could see it today and move in tomorrow, since my roommate is still living there. And when I said no short-term renters would be considered, I meant you, too, Summer Intern At Google. Yes, you. Shocking, I know. *facepalm*
I saw Star Trek. It was so good! Benedict Cumberbatch was delightfully evil. I hear there were plotholes, but to be honest, with that sort of movie I tend to neither notice or care. I might see it again - and I might even be tempted to see it in 3D. I generally resist seeing things in 3D, because I think it's a scam (and as someone who wears glasses it's kind of awkward), but I could see how that movie could've been cool in 3D.
Summer starts in, like, two weeks. Yay! This summer I will:
1) Finish one chapter and write most of another chapter of my dissertation (which will put me in a position to do my University Orals in the fall, and also give me the material I need for my German Studies Association talk, which is due September 1st)
2) Do an awesome internship at an online educational company. They have me doing online curriculum development, which I'm totally stoked about (and it happens to be CV gold right now).
3) Help Professor E with one of his courses. This might be a lot of drudge work, or he might let me do something interesting. Remains to be seen.
4) Clean out parts of my apartment that did not get cleaned out last summer. In particular, I need to excavate the pantry and develop a file system for important papers so I can actually find what I need at any given time.
I also really need to find the top of my desk. It's under there somewhere!
5) Go on vacation. Not sure when this is going to happen. My mom is having hip replacement surgery on June 19th, so it's unclear as of yet when my parents are going to get up to Montana. I'd intended to go in late July/early August, but it seems I might have to go after my birthday instead . . . which might be tricky, since I think I have to be back here by the 20th or so for something. Hmm. (On the other hand, hopefully after the surgery my mother will no longer be one of those old ladies who feels the need to tell everyone and their sister about their ailments. She's only sixty-three, she is way too young to be one of those old ladies.)
I am not teaching in the fall, I have decided. If I want to get out of here with my dissertation in hand in two years, I need to put my nose to the grindstone. Which doesn't mean I won't teach again, but I think six solid months of no teaching will put me way ahead with my dissertation. I did apply to be a writing tutor, though, so I will get to scratch that itch.
And finally, I wrote a poem! I don't think I've written a poem since I was fifteen, but my Designing the Professional course made us write one this last week. I wrote mine very quickly, but I don't think it's too bad, and it captures a significant part of what I love about being at a university, and particularly what I think really matters about the undergraduate experience at a university. I've decided recently that I really want to work in the academic side of undergraduate education.
Title shamelessly stolen from jarsofwind.
( The Universe-City )
And on that note, I'm off to do some writing. Have a good day, kids.
Gallup just released the results of its annual poll surveying Americans’ moral views on a number of hot topics, from adultery to polygamy to birth control. In general, respondents seem to have grown more progressive. According to Gallup, 59% of Americans believe gay and lesbian relationships are “morally acceptable,” up from 40% in 2001, when the annual questionnaire was first administered. Sixty-three percent of 2013 respondents are alright with teens having sex, compared to 32% 12 years ago. While only 45% of those polled in ’01 “personally believe[d] that in general it is morally acceptable” to have a baby out of marriage, now 60% do. Birth control got the “meh, ok” from 91%.
This is good news. In a country where kids are literally bullied to death for their sexualities, where a gay man was shot down last weekend in New York, where even those who survive often face inexcusable discrimination, the fact that an additional fifth of the country now think the queers shouldn’t all burn in hell is a big deal. A growing acceptance of teen sexuality, I hope, will allow for substantive, positive sex education. Unmarried mothers are unsupported by their government and, too often, their neighbors, so increased tolerance has real, positive effects on real women’s lives.
With that being said, I don’t like the question.
Obviously, if the choices are Americans finding queer relationships “morally acceptable” or “morally wrong”–as Gallup poses the options–I’d rather the former. But the poll’s frame is conservative and stigmatizing, regardless of the outcome. In choosing the categories and asking respondents to deliver ethical verdicts, Gallup reinforces the dangerous power dynamics of the tolerant and the tolerated, the normal and the deviant. Gallup’s choice to ask whether same-sex relationships, but not opposite-sex relationships, are morally acceptable may be explained as a reflection of current debate and law–hetero couples allowed to marry each in every state–but the question still reinforces the division between the default sexuality we will never doubt and the mutant forms whose moral acceptability must be determined.
Besides, I don’t think moral acceptability should be our goal. Let’s aim instead for celebration. This isn’t me griping that we haven’t progressed as far as I’d like because the standard Gallup tested and celebration are fundamentally different forms of engagement. Acceptance admits X behavior or identity isn’t bad. Celebration declares that it’s good. The tolerant are fine that there are gays in the neighborhood, while the celebratory are glad the world is queer. We find positive value where Gallup probes acceptability. We don’t think liberation is found in assimilation.
That difference substantively effects our lives and policies. Tolerance doesn’t disrupt the foundations of an unjust society. Someone might tell Gallup that they think gay and lesbian relationships are morally acceptable but still not want to spend time with the lesbian couple next door or see a man hold his boyfriend’s hand on the street. That’s a quiet homophobia, sure, but it’s still a homophobia that divides communities, isolates sexual minorities, and pressures queers to fade into a straight background. Similarly, a politician can think unmarried mothers aren’t necessarily bad people but, without a celebratory approach, not want to “encourage” that choice by offering supportive structures like state-sponsored daycare.
Gallup obviously doesn’t determine progressive American ideology or strategy, so there’s no reason to think one poll will doom our vision for a queer utopia with childcare and sex ed. But the framing of the questions worries me because it eerily reflects much of contemporary liberal politics. I’m reminded of a common sign allies hold at gay pride parades: “Refuse the hate.” I understand the motivation–there is, indeed, a hell of a lot of hate in this country, and we should reject it–but the sentiment always feels empty. “Ok, I won’t hate you” is miles and miles away from the celebration the street parties are meant to express. (The message is also uncomfortably reminiscent of conservative justifications of heterosexism that pretend that, so long as they promise they don’t hate the gays, their prioritization of straightness is blameless.)
The liberal belief that the height of civilization is to keep out of each others’ business, rather than to build true community, often infects pro-choice rhetoric, too. We often declare that no one should interfere with another person’s right to an abortion or birth control (two issues tested by Gallup) without recognizing that reproductive justice requires an active commitment to providing accessible services. Bodily autonomy cannot just be tolerated; we need to assert its positive value and facilitate the fulfillment of reproductive choices.
We may live in a world where it makes sense to a lot of people to ask whether or not unmarried motherhood is morally acceptable. But we don’t have to hold ourselves to the Gallup metric of progress. As Kool & The Gang once said, “let’s celebrate.”
I don’t normally do linkspam round-ups like this on my WP blog. I’d tell you I’m not sure why, but I know exactly why: making these posts on WP scares me. People I don’t know might see them and judge me and — Well, you get the idea. It doesn’t bother me as much on DreamWidth because the culture there is very different.
Anyway, here you are. An assortment of links of potential interest and signal boosts. And this time — it’s probably the coffee — I actually have the energy to make them proper links! *gasp* I am quite happy about that. This looks so much nicer.
Hope there are interesting links in there and further signal boosting is no doubt appreciated!
- Neverland’s Library still has a week to raise its funds. It has a flexible funding campaign, so whatever you fund for will go to them. They’ve got a pretty neat line-up of authors ready so far (and submissions are still open for a little while longer)!
- Brenda Novak’s Annual Online Auction for Diabetes Research is still running until May 31st.
- Carrie Cuinn is offering words in exchange for money to help offset medical bills.
- Save the UK’s public libraries petition
- TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, an academic journal. Here, have a quote: “Transgender Studies has far-reaching implications across many academic disciplines, including not only gender and women’s studies, sexuality studies, and LGBT Studies, but also social sciences, health, art, cultural studies, and many other broadly defined fields. The development of transgender studies also makes a politically significant intervention into the lives of trans community members with tremendous unmet needs, by changing what and how we know about transgender issues.”
They’re getting close to their funding goal with still 20 days to go.
- How to help tornado victims in Moore, OK, USA
- adelheide is selling jewellery
- National MS Society Fundraising: We’re doing a raffle! (But also fundraising.)
- M.C.A. Hogarth’s Earthrise Kickstarter is still going for three more days. It’s already made its goal.
- RITE OF PASSAGE, the Steamfunk Movie. This sounds awesome.
Mirrored from Lynn E. O'Connacht.
As to the legalities, back in the dawn of fanfic there was a lawsuit, Paramount vs fan-created work. Paramount won, and the upshot is — ANYTHING you create in a copyrighted universe belongs to the copyright holderPolite response: Citation needed.
Less polite: I call shenanigans.
( Cut for copyright lawsuit pontificating. )
A weekly short list of tweets that librarians and the teens that they serve may find interesting.
Do you have a favorite Tweet from the past week? If so add it in the comments for this post. Or, if you read a Twitter post between May 24 and May 30 that you think is a must for the next Tweets of the Week send a direct or @ message to lbraun2000 on Twitter.
That same day, Michael Chabon was born, and Tommy Chong (of Cheech And) turned 25 years old, so the former is now 50 and the latter 75.
THE RSC ARE PUTTING ON MIDDLETON'S A MAD WORLD, MY MASTERS. IN A 1950s SOHO JAZZ-CLUB!AU.
I actually could not be more excited. (Heh, wait. No, I could. If they were touring it and I didn't have to work out a way to get to Stratford-Upon-Avon and back. I don't drive, and it's a tortuous train journey from Home City to Stratford. I mean, it's not a great train journey from anywhere to Stratford, but Home City - Stratford involves changing twice at Birmingham, which is not a thing to be enjoyed.)
NONE OF WHICH IS THE POINT. Look, this play is hilarious and ridiculous and I have loved it since I was ~17.
In fact, if you have a couple of hours spare, you can watch a recorded version of a student production - here. I saw this production a few years ago and it was good. (Thank you, tempestsarekind for that link.)
Hosted by Tami Winfrey Harris and Andrea Plaid
This week, Matt Weiner thought he’d counter the continued criticisms that he and his creative team aren’t dealing with race and racism by…fleshing out one of the worst racial fears about Black women. Tami, Renee Martin from Womanist Musings and Fangs For The Fantasy, and I give this foolishness some serious side-eye while shouting out Benedict Cumberbatch.
Read on, with spoilers in mind.
Tami: No. No! No! No!
You cannot have a show nearly devoid of black characters for multiple seasons and then, apropos of nothing, drop in a walking amalgam of Mammy and thief stereotypes and give her, seemingly, more screen time, character development, and dialogue than any black character to date. It’s just…damn, Matt Weiner! This show is supposed to be better than that.
The most egregious thing about Grandma Ida is that she was both unnecessary and unbelievable. There were countless other ways to show how often unsupervised the Draper children are when visiting their father. And something about menacing middle-aged black women rolling up in tony Upper East Side doorman buildings, single-handedly breaking into likely occupied homes, seems ridiculous. If nothing else, Ida’s methods seem destined to land her in jail.
More ink and conversation have been spent on Grandma Ida and Pete Campbell’s “200 lb. Negro prostitute” that on Dawn at this point. She and Peggy’s secretary remain ciphers. If the other option is marginalization and stereotype, then Weiner is making me want to choose invisibility in Mad Men for black characters.
I just…I need a Cumberbatch break…
Aaaahhhh….that’s better. Poor race casting in Star Trek: Into Darkness aside, The ‘batch makes everything better.
I will credit the Grandma Ida storyline with giving us the episode’s best bit of dialogue, though.
Bobby Draper: “Are we Negroes?’
As someone who enjoys genealogical research, I can tell you, Bobby, you well may be. Still…hee.
Andrea: Tami, you come to New York City for a couple of days, and you just act allll the way up, huhn?
Back to this latest Black character to cross the Mad Men universe: compared to, say, Carla, Dawn, and Peggy’s secretary, the Mammy Thief (the name I give Grandma Ida) damn near had a soliloquy on the show. I mean, you had to suss Carla’s backstory, though her firing over nothing was a common story from Black domestic workers during that time. Dawn gets something of a backstory, with her wanting to find a partner of her professional standing, which speaks to her having some desires, specifically aspirations.
But the way Weiner physically presented the Mammy Thief–the slovenly coat and clothes, the hair sticking out under her worn-out hat, the puzzled way she talked. like she sort of didn’t know where she was–one could construe her as possibly having an untreated mental illness or, worse, pulled an ableist move and affected that in order to appear less of a direct threat. (Though that didn’t stop some commenters from saying that she’s “menacing.”) She is definitely presented as the worst fears about Mammy, that of a Black woman who violates the trust of white people–specifically of white children, who are supposed to be the object of Mammy’s unconditional motherly love–for her own gain. Grandma Ida’s the precursor to that other bit of GOP-generated social fiction, The Welfare Queen.
Renee: I felt that this character affirmed everything I have ever said about Mad Men and race. Weiner does not include people of colour because he does not know how nor is he willing to try.
Tami: Renee, I told Andrea that I’m beginning to think that the only reason Weiner and Co. have been subtle about race thus far is that no actual PoCs have been included in the narrative. Now that we are, they’re going ham with stereotype and bias.
Andrea: But I think that that’s sort of how some white folks function. They’re all cool and “liberal” until the people of color show up–and, sometimes, it only takes one person of color–then the racist foolishness start flying. Weiner seems to have enacted that scenario in his award-winning creation.
Tami: So, Cutler Gleason & Chaough comes with its very own Dr. Feelgood. I tell you, this episode made me suspect someone had slipped me some of the good doctor’s proprietary “vitamin mix.” I was certain Ken Cosgrove’s soft shoe was, at the very least, my evening Benadryl allergy meds kicking in.
Andrea: The hell was that? Was it Weiner’s acknowledging the 60s drug culture through the prism of SCDPCGC, or whatever they’re call the agency nowadays? Considering the “sped up” reaction to the “vitamin mix,” will the Mad Men crew usher in the cocaine-fueled late 70s and 80s early, since next season is the last one?
Renee: Let’s be honest, these people have never done anything sober. So far, we have only seen the occasional usage of pot, but alcohol has been a mainstay since the first episode. I really see it as pointing out that, even though people tend to think of this as a time of change.
Tami: Enough with the bordello flashbacks! I’m beginning to think we are being shown Don’s wretched childhood as a way to mitigate, or at least explain, his unbridled assholishness. I really don’t like that. There were (and are) plenty of real-life Don Drapers whose mother figures weren’t prostitutes, whose fathers weren’t kicked to death by horses and who weren’t molested as children. And there are plenty of people with difficult pasts who aren’t horrible people.
And Don is a horrible person.
Andrea: This goes back to my hating the psychological reasons for villianery: I could give zero fucks about why the person is evil–they are, and that’s enough for me. Telling me why actually bores me. And I feel the same way about Don. I don’t need his psychological profile to understand why he is the way he is. And I really feel like they’re really using his impoverished background to explain his assholishness, much in the same way that they use Roger Sterling’s wealthy background to explain his assholishness, without the flashbacks.
Tami: I wonder–given the new merger and the fact that Ted Chaough seems like an infinitely more together person, creative and with a better management style–how long is Don going to be able to flounce around, working on campaigns to win back mistresses and deciding he can’t be arsed with newly won auto clients.
Andrea: But I think that Chaough is going to worm his way into a partnership position and move Don into a partner emeritus position, which gives the agency a reason to retire Don with some modicum of dignity.
Tami: Our Pegs could have her pick of men: The New Agey, turtleneck wearing ad exec; the pot smoking, fun guy or the lefty, liberal journalist. Sadly, she has more chemistry with both Stan and Ted, but both of those relationships would be all sorts of problematic.
Andrea: But are they really picks? Mr. Turtleneck is married, though closest to Peggy’s temperament and desires; the fun pothead is someone she think of as too much of her equal, so would hold no interest for her; the lefty journalist apparently isn’t keeping her interest in general, the way she’s acting all restless around him.
My contemporary sensibilities just about flipped when pothead dude told Peggy she had a “nice ass”…and all she could do is smile. I had to remember that the idea of even reporting sexual harassment in the workplace is a very recent thing, thanks to Professor Anita Hill.
OuaT7 read again! It’s such a sweet piece. It falls under fairytale for me because of how strongly it’s a modern fairytale. (That comment will make sense once you’ve read it.)
The Poppet and the Lune by Madeline Claire Franklin
I loved the ideas of ‘The Poppet and the Lune’, but the execution needed a /lot/ of work. I started skimming because of the sheer amount of telling and the need for proofreading. The proofreading issues were relatively small things that quite a few people would probably just read over without noticing them, but combined with how much telling there was in this book it made for a frustrating read. I almost abandoned it every single time I put it down (and quite a few times in between), but I stuck with it and I’m glad I did.
‘The Poppet and the Lune’ is a fairytale. It’s absolutely adorable and heart-warming. The titular characters are a girl stitched together by moonlight and a werewolf. The girl is created after a great tragedy strikes a village and kills all the children. The good-hearted witch promises them she can make a new child from all the others, but she dies before she can complete the spell. Time passes and the poppet/patchwork girl decides to leave the village to find her own way in life. Along the way she meets a wolf, who isn’t who he appears to be, and several other creatures, all of whom want something of her.
It’s a coming-of-age story and one of self-discovery. It touches on the meaning of (human) emotion as the patchwork girl tries to find herself. It’s about the power of names and the way people interact with one another. It’s about being true to yourself and the choices we make. It’s a fairytale that doesn’t, quite, follow the rules of fairytales and that works in its favour. The narrative is that of a storyteller which highlights the way the story itself is also about the stories: the ones we tell ourselves, the ones we tell others, and the ones we come to believe and how those stories affect us.
It’s also a love story and a story about happy endings. The poppet and the wereman (yep, there’s a reason I’m not giving names) are both intriguing characters and they complement each other well. Watching them navigate the world they’re in, getting to know themselves and each other was a treat. The little glimpses we get shown of their relationship and the world-building are what kept me reading in the end. It’s a sweet, little story.
Mirrored from Lynn E. O'Connacht.
During today's last lecture, she referred to me by name (and our tutorial yesterday) four times.
And, um, not to anyone else's once.
I’ve never been one for big cities. In some ways, I think of it as an extension of my introversion. Big cities = too many people, too much going on, and I get twitchy just thinking about it.
But I’ve watched my fellow authors do the occasional New York trip to visit with editors and agents, and it’s been strongly advised by a number of folks that I do the same, especially with the relative success of Libriomancer.
So when I received an invitation to moderate the Adult Book Bloggers Panel at Book Expo of America in New York, I was happy to say yes. I’m even happier now that I’ve been chatting with my panelists, including Sarah from Smart Bitches, Trashy Books — the woman responsible for making me do this — along with Mandi from Smexy Books and Rebecca from The Book Lady’s Blog.
My BEA schedule, excluding meetings and such, looks like so:
- 5/29, 11:15 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. — Book Blogging Panel.
- 5/31, 3:30 p.m. – 4 p.m. — Signing at the SFWA table.
- 6/1, 12 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. — “Meet the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America,” with myself, Jeri Smith-Ready, and Leanna Renee Hieber.
I am both excited and a bit intimidated. I’ve been to NYC once in my life, helping a friend move, and that was more than a decade ago. On the other hand, I’ll be spending time with a lot of great people, and attending an event devoted to the awesomeness of books. How can you not love that?
So blogging will be light to nonexistent next week. This will be my first time at BEA, and my second time in NYC (the first was more than a decade ago, helping a friend move, and I didn’t see that much of the city). My plan is to try to have fun, hopefully collect some books, and shamelessly gawk at everything.
Wish me luck, and if you’re going to be at BEA, then I hope to see you there!
Mirrored from Jim C. Hines.