I will say this for Denver—it has discovered how to monetize parking like nowhere else. Pretty quiet week for me, as per usual: work, baking, reading, and dodging Thor: The Dark World spoilers like a champion thoroughbred. I won’t be able to go until Tuesday, and I am holding on for dear life until then. The holidays have really started, so we’ve been busier and busier at the store. I’ve managed to get through The American Way of Eating and Six-Gun Snow White this week. That’s the signed page of Six-Gun Snow White up there, actually. I’m just really taken with the fact that a library snatched up one of only one thousand hard copies of the novella. Go, Denver Public Library!
The coffee meeting is the cornerstone of networking. Here’s ten tips on how to set it up and do it right.
If popular narratives of feminism choose to ignore international opinions and deprioritize the work of women of color, that leaves room for modern “feminist” thinkers and outlets and popular conceptions—like NY Times Bestseller-List level popular conceptions—to do the same without thinking twice. If feminist history isn’t intersectional—if the very dictionary definition, and how we’ve charted its development, isn’t intersectional—maybe it’s time to rethink that definition. Especially as the word seems to be on the upswing again — a recent survey by Ms. Magazine recently found that 42% of women under 30 identify as feminist, the most of any age group.
Marvel continues its campaign of awesome with the new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan, a Muslim and Pakistani-American teenager growing up in Jersey City. And people are responding: her first appearance in Captain Marvel #17 has completely sold out!
For his wedding, comic artist Paolo Rivera created invitations and save-the-dates in the style of Tintin populated with the couple’s favorite characters. It’s very sweet.
Let’s put Hollywood’s lack of diversity into number: of the 500 top-grossing films of the last five years, only around 25% percent of characters with speaking roles were of color.
It’s that time of year again—Genevieve Valentine takes on Miss Universe’s Best National Costume competition. It’s brilliant.
The A.V. Club just finished up 1993 Week, which included this educational write-up of the riot grrl scene from the early nineties and this thoughtful piece on CGI versus practical effects.
At Racialicious, The Nerds of Color’s Jenn points out that zombie hordes are pretty uniformly white—despite the fact that Atlanta, a major setting for The Walking Dead, has a majority black population. I’m linking this because I’ve been seeing Atlanta represented as pretty white in sf as of late, which is just silly. C’mon, y’all.
I am holding these two links at arm’s length because I want to avoid spoilers, in the hopes I’ll get another moment like the mountain giants in the first film. TheOneRing.net and io9 have write-ups of the twenty minutes of The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug footage shown at the fan event this week.
Patrick Stewart is one of my favorite people in the world. Here’s a picture of him using his privilege to help others.
Sleepy Hollow’s Orlando Jones has been having a lot of fun with fandom since the show began, from trying to instigate ships to squealing along with the rest of us. He gives Vulture his reasoning:
The Internet to me is about rebel culture, and I’ve always loved it. When I think of rebel culture, I think of rock-and-roll, or hip-hop; and for a long time now, it’s been the Internet. Everything belongs to everyone now, and everyone gets to have a say. It doesn’t mean the fans are writing the show, but they definitely are watching it and they get to have a say. I don’t get to sit back and pretend I’m too good to talk to them. That’s bullshit. Digital lets us have this conversation and make it as awesome as we want. Why can’t I share fan-fiction? Those fans are artists too, I’m not more or less of an artist than the people who are writing that, or drawing fan art. I’ve believed that for a while, and I felt like this was the time to go, “No, I don’t want it back and I’m happy [the fourth wall] is gone.” It’s one of the most enjoyable experiences. To me, it’s theater. Immediate reaction, the second it’s done. I get to be in my living room with you, trolling my own show.
Elliot Darrow’s slam poem “God is Gay” is astonishing.
The passing of Blockbuster (although the company will live on in some digital offerings) is kind of bizarre. I remember, as a kid, renting movies under my mother’s watchful eye and buying a Baby Bottle Pop to watch them with. Nathan Rabin, who worked there for three years, offers a sweet obituary for the store, which touches on how video rental stores offered cinematic democracy to viewers.
At the Medium, Betsy discusses the tech industry, rape culture, drink culture, and the assumption that one’s subjective experience is universal:
My youngest brother has a lot of allergies. No, a lot of allergies. They’ve gotten a little better with age and medication, but time was, even smelling milk or eggs or walnuts or cherries or any of a dozen other things would land him in intensive care. I’d come home from school and oops, there’d be a note on the table saying my family was at the hospital again.
People didn’t understand that. Still don’t. “Milk allergy? Oh, you must mean lactose intolerance. There are pills for that now, here, have a cupcake — “ and then it’s another emergency shot of epinephrine to the leg.
So I don’t have much tolerance for people who say, “Here, put this in your mouth. I know better than you what goes in it.”
(This might be one of my favorite pieces of the week, since I remember lying as a child in order to avoid things that made me uncomfortable, like drinking champagne at family events, because simply saying “no, thank you” was never enough.)
Psst, Lionsgate: the reason the Hunger Games merchandise been so successful is because they, more or less, stick to the schtick of framing us, the audience, as the Capitol. It’s a pretty neat trick that allows you to interrogate consumer culture and profit from it at the same time. A Hunger Games theme park is so outside of that wheelhouse that it’s not going to work. I can’t think of a way you can eat your cake and have it too in that scenario. Harry Potter has locations we want to visit. A dystopia where the majority of people are starving? Not so much.
Over at Tor.com, Amal El-Mohtar rounds up “From Sinbad to Sci-Fi,” a salon about Arab speculative fiction at London’s Nour Festival.
Perhaps, though, what’s unsettling about even the most inventive use of GIFs and images is the way they evoke emotion and subjectivity rather than ideas and analysis. They speak of the experience of reading rather than offering authoritative or finished assertions about what a book means. The critic’s traditionally Olympian position as someone who knows more about the book than you do is also upended in the practice of liveblogging. Cleolinda Jones, whose hilarious liveblogging of Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” novels have made her something of an Internet legend, has also live-tweeted George R.R. Martin’s “Game of Thrones.” “I got a lot of ‘Oh, you sweet summer child’,” she told me in an email, characterizing the response of friends familiar with the novel’s startling plot twists.
Why would someone want to read a critic liveblogging a book they’ve already read themselves? Why welcome the insights of a person who very obviously knows less about the subject than you do? Jones, who also posts television recaps to her LiveJournal blog, explains that “watching someone new to a series recap or livetweet is a way of re-experiencing [it] … the same way you might look forward to handing down books to your kids or watching a favorite movie with them for the first time. … One of the great joys of art/entertainment is sharing and group experience.” Reading a book, especially a work of fiction, is an experience that unfolds over a significant amount of time, with fluctuations in involvement and anticipation, changing feelings toward characters and a growing understanding of the text’s meaning. Every reader goes through this process alone, but liveblogging becomes a way to communicate what it feels like as it’s happening. It offers an intimacy rarely found in traditional book reviewing.
(I disagree that emotion/subjectivity and ideas/analysis can’t be mixed in the same piece, but, nonetheless, this makes my reader-response theorist heart sing.)
The Rainbow Hub talks Sansa Stark’s character arc and how, despite being reviled by some fans, she might be just the character to win the eponymous game of thrones.
The Marvel cinematic universe continues its campaign of total media domination, this time bringing four television shows to Netflix to culminate with The Defenders, a crossover between all four shows. The shows are Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and Daredevil. Given how uneven Agents of SHIELD is, I’m hesitant, but I’m glad they’re taking a chance.
Joss Whedon’s Equality Now speech on Monday called for replacing the word “feminist” with “genderist” because “-ist” sounds icky (so… he retained it? Je ne comprends pas). Foz Meadows rips it apart succinctly:
Before we proceed any further, let’s get one thing straight: there are times and places for changing our language on the basis of what a particular term originally implied, or of what it continues to imply. Language is important and sneaky; it changes our thinking without our even realising it, and when we make a conscious effort to reclaim that process – to be clear and unambiguous, to avoid causing hurt, and to set aside long-standing biases better left as historical footnotes – that is an important, a powerful thing. But this is not the case with the many successive attempts to rebrand feminism; to replace it with words like equalist or genderist , which invariably involve the removal of that disquietingly feminine prefix. Rather than redressing a lexicographical wrong, it’s a way of downplaying the role and relevance of women within their own movement in order to make others feel more comfortable with the concept of equality, a form of taxological silencing derived from the same logic which recently saw a female speaker ejected from the Michigan House of Representatives for saying ‘vagina’ while talking about abortion. For as long as the word feminism is deemed both radical and confrontational for its use of the feminine prefix, it will remain a necessary word precisely because of how perfectly our cultural uneasiness with women’s rights is reflected in our uneasiness with a term that dares to make them its focus.
Here’s a teaser with actual footage for “The Day of the Doctor.” I do secretly hope that more Doctors are involved than just Ten, Eleventh, and John Hurt, but I know that probably won’t happen. (Eccleston won’t come back for anything, but what about Paul McGann?) Still, I’m excited!
Added: Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie (via ladybusiness), Candy by Samira Kawash (via work)