The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
When I was in high school, I believed that the purest thing in the world could be found in the third verse of Scissor Sisters’ “Paul McCartney.” When Jake Shears declares that “I’m just in love with your sound!” and hits “sound” so perfectly and satisfyingly, there is simply no room for something else in the world. It’s communication that includes words, obviously, but goes beyond it, managing to pull your heartbeat into its own beat and rearrange you.
The Final Solution by Michael Chabon
As ideologically mixed as I am on How To Be Gay, it’s nonetheless provided me with some fresh analytical lens. I knew what a subculture was, of course, but had never thought of it in context of its relationship to the culture at large. (It’s hard to take a step that far back to get a better vantage point.) A subculture requires a culture to be sub to. It can only be understood in the context of that grander culture, which it reacts, negatively or positively, to. Of course, this is getting complicated as the (American) monoculture continues to splinter, but the point remains.
Happy Easter, ducklings! Or, if you don’t celebrate, happy last candy holiday before October!
So, um, things look different around here. (And I don’t mean my decorated Alamo Victory card.) I’ve been meaning to update my layout and start using the one good photo of a book cake I had last year as my header, but I decided that the best time to do that was Friday night right before bed. Still, I’m very happy with it: sleek and easy to read. There will be other tweaks in the next week or so as I find time to do them.
Otherwise, this has been a pretty relaxed week for me. I got a lot of me work done on Monday, so I feel like I’m on top of things again. I read Ever After High, Afrofuturism, and The Final Solution this week.
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Afrofuturism by Ytasha L. Womack
Recently, Noah screenwriter Ari Handel told The High Calling that the reason a film based on the Hebrew Bible featured an entirely white cast was that “this story is functioning at the level of myth, and as a mythical story, the race of the individuals doesn’t matter. They’re supposed to be stand-ins for all people.” The concept of the white male as supposedly universal subject is disgusting enough, but such a precisely vague statement only brings to mind the various Old White Dudes screaming themselves red over people of color or women asking to be treated like people in the sf community. (I haven’t heard of anyone specifically protesting queer folk getting involved, but it’s only a matter of time.) Handel and men like Dave Truesdale are implying the same thing: marginalized communities and speculative fiction have nothing to do with each other.
Ever After High: The Storybook of Legends by Shannon Hale
Have I mentioned that I’m in stupid love with Monster High? Something about that doll franchise’s blend of adorable monster girls, increasingly outrageous fashion, and atrocious puns just makes me happy. The webseries’ emphasis on friendship and occasional horror certainly helps, such as designated mean girl Cleo being actually fiercely protective of her friends or Frankie Stein creating a voodoo doll boyfriend to impress her friends—who reveals his sentience by running off screaming after she’s dumped him in the trash. The franchise has been a hit with both adult collectors and the actual target audience. Mattel saw more money in them hills and spawned Ever After High, which is the same concept, but with the children of fairy tale characters in high school instead of the children of classic horror characters.
How To Be Gay by David M. Halperin
In the traditional queer narrative, going off to college is a big event. Depending on how active your high school’s GSA was, you either are finally meeting more than three other queer people or finally meeting queer people you don’t remember from childhood. But, despite my initial enthusiasm, I never quite connected with the queer groups on my college campus. Setting aside that one person who treated me as if I were a very stupid Hummel figurine prone to spontaneous combustion, they were a fine group of people. But we never really clicked. There was a cultural barrier between me the geek and they the partiers that couldn’t be breached. Eventually, I did find my fellow queer geeks, but that cultural shock stuck with me. Despite my outstanding credentials (Exhibit A: a notebook emblazoned with “Mrs. Joan Watson” in glitter), I wasn’t, apparently, queer enough.
It was my birthday on Wednesday! I celebrated in style by going to see Captain America: The Winter Soldier at the Alamo and crying for an hour of its running time from emotions. Good times.
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Captain America: The Winter Soldier
based on a story by Ed Brubaker and characters by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
On May 6th, 2016, Captain America 3 (No Sleep Till Stalingrad, one presumes) will open opposite Batman Vs. Superman (Grimdark: The Movie, one presumes). This is not so much the two titans of the comic book world taking their eternal battle to the silver screen as much as it is Marvel asking DC and Warner Brothers if they want to see a pencil disappear. As Phase 2 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe comes to a close—we’ve only got Guardians of the Galaxy later this year and then its onto phase capper Avengers: Age of Ultron—the success of Marvel Studios (especially now that it’s in the hands of Disney) is envied and unparalleled. DC and Warner Brothers aren’t the only ones attempting to mimic the formula (although they are the only studio hilariously doing it backwards); Sony Pictures wants to do one Spiderman film a year and Fox’s The Wolverine may be the first in a line of films featuring single mutants. (X-Men Origins: Wolverine need not apply.)
Stuart Little by E. B. White
read by Julie Harris
Honestly, I do try to vary my audiobooks, but, since I try to only revisit books I read before I was eighteen, I’m starting to scrape the bottom of the barrel after five years of book blogging. It is a truth I do not like to acknowledge that I was not actually much of a reader as a kiddo, although I staunchly identified myself as such. Given the political nonfiction that overwhelmed Fort McBride’s libraries, the bulk of my childhood reading actually came from school.
Savage Beauty by Andrew Bolton, Solve Sundsbo, Tim Blanks, and Susannah Frankel
I want people to be afraid of the women I dress.
I was never girlish. I made the transition from tiny, furious child to awkward, anxious, and still furious woman-sized child in the span of a few months in fifth grade. At that age, I had no concept of “style” (or the idea of wearing shoes other than a pair of giant white sneakers to school each day)—rather, my guiding light was my violent femmephobia, leading me to drown myself in baggy jeans and ratty t-shirts while feeling smugly superior to girls who wore anything cute. Mainstream culture and the gamer culture I clung to taught me that femininity was incongruent with power and control, the two things I craved most as a child.