I was a sea monster for Halloween this year. It ended up turning into an eighties sea monster, but that’s because everything I touch turns to eighties, not because I planned it. But Halloween is over, which means: after Halloween sales! I hit up my local Walgreens and got some peanut M&Ms and some Funfetti cake mix for cheap. (Pro-tip: you don’t have to mix in the holiday bits into the funfetti mix! Just use it as regular cake mix!) I’ll be hitting up Target soon, but I imagine it’ll be pretty picked over by the time I get there. I’m still powering through Best Food Writing 2013 as of today, which has been making me realize I really need to step up my reading.
X-Men: Days of Future Past trailer! As badly as I wanted the First Class branch of the franchise to continue into the eighties because I want to see Dazzler, this is so sprawling, weird, and kind of high-concept that I can’t help but love its existence. Plus, I really do enjoy Bryan Singer’s superhero films, so odds are that I will love the film itself.
As excited as I am about the CoverGirl Catching Fire collection (I need all the book-themed nail polish I can get, folks), I am a bit baffled by the Vosges Chocolates tie-in, which features luxury chocolate themed after characters and the districts. Not in a “how could they?” way, but in a “I didn’t know the target demographic for this franchise was into high-end chocolate enough to warrant this” way. Still, it does fit in with the marketing campaign mimicking the Capitol (and thus forcing us, as an audience, to recognize ourselves in them as we watch the story unfold) and that Effie chocolate bar looks good.
Andrew Emitt at The Feminist Wire offers an interesting breakdown on not only Lady Gaga’s “Applause” video, but also the fact that plenty of music critics are missing her influences.
I have a list of places to visit and things to do when I move to New York. Economy Candy is one of the first stops, so this tour from Serious Eats was a delight.
This quasi-romantic perception might scare off men for fear they’ll seem gay, but it can hinder women from actively seeking out friends, too. Sex and romance are still the primary context we have for deliberately pursuing relationships, and we’re just starting to develop an alternate vocabulary. “Girl crush,” for all its positive associations, still has a slightly dismissive tone, as if it exists only in contrast with “real” crushes of the romantic variety. And so, even for a grown-ass woman who’s secure in her sexuality, openly courting someone for friendship carries with it a sense of desperation. It’s okay to work hard to form a romantic relationship, but pursuing friendship in the same way is just needy or weird — like a geeky teenager looking for a seat in the cafeteria.
Samantha Allen at the Border House used Bastion (and, the year before, Halo) to teach her students about intersectionality recently. Bastion seems much more suited to this task than Halo: you can electively select multiple different difficulty settings (here representing different oppressions) and the game itself is much more accessible for non-gamers.
At Thought Catalog, former Marine Jay Roberts recounts a summer afternoon where he felt truly cherished for the first time—and later learning that the man in question was a serial killer who preyed on Marines exactly like Roberts.
Here’s Taran Killam reenacting the pilot of X-Men: The Animated Series.
To ring out YA Pride Month, Malinda Lo counts off young adult titles featuring queer youth of color.
Buzzfeed lists off nine women who shaped modern science fiction, including one or two I’d never heard of.
Ann Leckie provides a sweetly blistering analogy to destroy arguments of “Well, it’s only significant for its diversity, it doesn’t stand on its own.”
Tressie McMillan Cottom explains “the Logic of Stupid Poor People,” as some people put it when they deride working class folks for seeming to spend outside their means:
I do not know how much my mother spent on her camel colored cape or knee-high boots but I know that whatever she paid it returned in hard-to-measure dividends. How do you put a price on the double-take of a clerk at the welfare office who decides you might not be like those other trifling women in the waiting room and provides an extra bit of information about completing a form that you would not have known to ask about? What is the retail value of a school principal who defers a bit more to your child because your mother’s presentation of self signals that she might unleash the bureaucratic savvy of middle class parents to advocate for her child? I don’t know the price of these critical engagements with organizations and gatekeepers relative to our poverty when I was growing up. But, I am living proof of its investment yield.
Famed anthropologist Margaret Mead was married three times to men, but the greatest love of her love was Ruth Benedict. Brain Pickings has some of her love letters to Ruth here.
At Wired, Rachel Edidin shares her complex relationship with Orson Scott Card—as both her college mentor and as someone actively trying to destroy her rights as a queer woman. Naturally, she won’t be going to see the film for the same reasons I won’t: I don’t go to parties where the host hates me and works tirelessly to attack my rights, even if he’s not actively doing it right then and there.
Halloween is over, but you have to check out this hijabi girl’s clever Princess Leia costume.
The ridiculously photogenic Sleepy Hollow cast reenact fanart. I adore this production team; the way they handle fandom is so celebratory and empowering without letting fandom call the shots. Also, stuff like this makes me really want Katrina to come to the modern day so she and Ichabod can be adorably in love and confused at modern things.
Renay alerted me to this dConstruct talk from Pinboard founder Maciej Cegłowski about fandom and the way it uses tools. As fandom starts to build tools of its own instead of co-opting the tools of others (which has bitten us in the past; LiveJournal and delicious are mentioned), it’s still important to celebrate the adaptability and thoroughness of the fannish mind. Also, Cegłowski talks about fandom as a female-dominated space and says that “[f]andom is like this secret seminar in feminism and is lifechanging for them,” which is so, so true.
The A.V. Club launches its new column, “Run the Series,” with a look at the Halloween franchise. Having no interest in the Halloween franchise, I’m more excited about the potential of the column as it moves onto bigger and bigger franchises and its usefulness as a guide to people who want to dip into franchises instead of powering through them.
Ted Chiang’s story “The Truth of Fact, the Truth of Feeling” is about the fallibility of memory and the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves:
Before a culture adopts the use of writing, when its knowledge is transmitted exclusively through oral means, it can very easily revise its history. It’s not intentional, but it is inevitable; throughout the world, bards and griots have adapted their material to their audiences, and thus gradually adjusted the past to suit the needs of the present. The idea that accounts of the past shouldn’t change is a product of literate cultures’ reverence for the written word. Anthropologists will tell you that oral cultures understand the past differently; for them, their histories don’t need to be accurate so much as they need to validate the community’s understanding of itself. So it wouldn’t be correct to say that their histories are unreliable; their histories do what they need to do.
Right now each of us is a private oral culture. We rewrite our pasts to suit our needs and support the story we tell about ourselves. With our memories we are all guilty of a Whig interpretation of our personal histories, seeing our former selves as steps toward our glorious present selves.
This week’s jam: Fuzzbox’s “Pink Sunshine.” This video accurately represents what’s going on in my head at any given moment.
Added: Sparks by S. J. Adams (via Anastasia), Darkbeast by Morgan Keyes (via work), The History of English in 100 Words by David Crystal (via work)