I built a castle out of sf box sets at work several days ago. This week, I fixed up our photography section, which had previously been a bit of a hot mess. Big coffee table books are a bit of a pain to shelve properly, given their size and weight, but it is done so that it does not have been done again anytime soon!
I also think I just got over a bout of writer’s block. These past two weeks, reviews were becoming more and more difficult for me to write, but reviewing Among the Janeites was like how it usually goes. And now that I’ve finally updated my reading spreadsheet, I feel a little more stable as a book blogger. This week, I got through Among the Janeites, and I also went to go see Thor: The Dark World.
Fun fact: I am a big Warcraft fan. Since I find repetitive behavior soothing and I am also really cheap, I can’t let myself get into World of Warcraft, so I’ve gotten away from it, but Warcraft II was a major part of my childhood. Accordingly, I am so excited for the Warcraft movie that I could just bust. Here’s everything we know about it so far, including who the costume designer is.
The Lord of the Rings musical will start a world tour in 2015, an announcement that left me running a victory lap around the children’s section at work.
Why buy crackers when you can make them? Oh, because I’ll eat all of them in two days. Have the recipe I tried out this week.
Andrew Romano at the Daily Beast argues that the Beatles’ success is due to a mix of timing, luck, and their own arrogance. It’s an interesting piece, especially since it points out the existence of a Beatles-themed cookbook. (If Beer Prudence hasn’t been taken as a roller derby name, I call dibs.)
This month marks the fiftieth anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. The resulting new books and displays at work has made me realize that I have a hard time getting a bead on him and his context, so visiting Norman Mailer’s 1960 article on the Democratic convention, “Superman Comes to the Supermarket,” was enlightening.
As “The Day of the Doctor” looms ever closer, I only gave up hope that the classic Doctors would make an appearance in the special that week. Speaking at Hal Con, Peter Davison said that the special focused on Moffat’s work, not the show as a whole. On the one hand, they are all kindly older gentlemen for whom stunts would probably not be the best idea. On the other hand, not even a single scene, Moff? It’s only the biggest sf franchise in British history.
With a chain of movie theaters in Sweden introducing an official Bechdel Test for films, Alison Bechdel herself reflects on how the Test has defined her career and where it came from:
I speak a lot at colleges, and students always ask me about the Test. (Many young people only know my name because of the Test—they don’t know about my comic strip or books.) (I’m not complaining! I’m happy they know my name at all!) But at one school I visited recently, someone pointed out that the Test is really just a boiled down version of Chapter 5 of A Room of One’s Own, the “Chloe liked Olivia” chapter.
I was so relieved to have someone make that connection. I am pretty certain that my friend Liz Wallace, from whom I stole the idea in 1985, stole it herself from Virginia Woolf. Who wrote about it in 1926.
Roose writes that he tried Pinterest a while back, but never understood its appeal, and dismissed it as an unlikely attempt at bringing the scrapbooking trend online. That’s fair enough; Pinterest isn’t for everyone. But I think it bears noting that it’s overwhelmingly men who make this comment about Pinterest: “I don’t get the appeal.” Sure, I’ve made that comment about a hundred apps that have gone on to acquire absolutely huge user bases — mostly men in roughly the same demographics as the apps’ creators. But what I don’t do is dismiss the app’s ability to find a market. I simply acknowledge that I’m not their target market.
Lorde is doing a dark cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World” for the Catching Fire soundtrack. TAKE MY MONEY.
Arrow is adding Dick Grayson, also known as Batfamily member Nightwing, to their show. This is the closest the show has gotten to Bats himself, which might mean something for the upcoming Batman Vs. Superman film. Huh.
The trailer for Maleficient is out and it’s… huh. The story has potential. I do like the idea of Maleficient trying to destroy King Stefan because he invaded her country, as well as her seeing Aurora as a means to peace instead of a handy victim. If it goes well, we’ll have a fantasy film about ladies resisting oppression and having complex relationships with each other. Huzzah! If not… well… it’s not like that Alice in Wonderland-level of CGI is really going to inspire anyone.
Lily Allen’s video for her new song, “Hard Out Here,” attempts to critique the hip-hop video aesthetic by following it to a T. The Hairpin’s Julianne Escobedo Shepherd breaks down why that’s a problem:
You could counter with, “whatever, it’s her video,” or say that it is “pure rap-game parody.” One of the dancers in the video, Seliza Sebastian, has tweeted that she enjoyed herself and found a friend in Allen. I’m not here to discount Sebastian’s experience at all, or the possibility that there’s value in her being “in on the joke,” but to point out that the images in pop culture go beyond your one-day video shoot, and that they’re gonna have implications beyond where you think your headspace is at. The point is, even by sexualizing women to make an ostensibly parodic commentary on how hip-hop sexualizes women, you are still sexualizing women. And even if your dancers are well-treated and knew what their job was beforehand, you’re still mocking those who dance for real in rap videos for potentially a myriad of reasons, and/ or assuming that they don’t know what they’re doing, or that they are victims. That is racially problematic at best. And when you’re the fully-clothed white woman at the center, and your video director is still working with the same slow-mo ass shots as the ones you seem to want to satire (his direct inspiration: “what was the most hip-hop thing you could ever do?”)—well, that shit is definitely racially problematic, and particularly so in a banner year for twerking and white women treating black women as props.
What an amazing Wonder Woman costume! Meagan Marie covers the creation of this piece of cosplay at her blog.
At The Huffington Post, Soraya Chemaly asks “What Does it Mean that Most Children’s Books Are Still About White Boys?”:
Boys who grow up seeing themselves everywhere as powerful and central just by virtue of being boys, often white, are critically impaired in many ways. It’s a rude shock to many when things don’t turn out the way they were told they should. It seems reasonable to suggest media misrepresentations like these contribute, in boys, to a heightened inability to empathize with others, a greater propensity to peg ambition to intrinsic qualities instead of effort and a failure to understand why rules apply or why accountability is a thing. It should mean something to parents that the teenagers with the highest likelihood of sexually assaulting a peer and feel no responsibility for their actions are young white boys from higher-income families. The real boy crisis we should be talking about is entitlement and outdated notions of masculinity, both of which are persistently responsible for leaving boys confused and unprepared for contemporary adulthood.
Here’s the prologue to “The Day of the Doctor,” “The Night of the Doctor.” Excuse me while I go scream into a pillow until I’m red in the face. In the good way, although I know now that Moffat will just straight-up lie to Whovians.
Some people are asking why queer folk are boycotting Ender’s Game if Card isn’t directly making money from the film. (He sold the film rights ages ago, so he’s not getting a cut.) Setting aside the fact that the film is boosting sales of his books, Totally Biased writer Guy Branum explains that it’s about, you know, not going to a party where somebody hates you. The boycott appears to be working, given Lionsgate’s expectations for the film.
Eric Deggans at NPR’s Code Switch talks Fox’s push for diversity, resulting in fare like Sleepy Hollow, Brooklyn Nine-Nine-Nine, and Almost Human. Which is to say, resulting in well-received shows with high ratings.
A Monster High movie is go, with the creators of The O.C. and Gossip Girl at the helm. This is not going to go as well as I hope, but the ensuing barrage of puns found at the intersection of sugar horror and teenybopper will be more than worth it.
Christopher Laverty at Clothes on Film discusses the costuming in Catching Fire. Costume designer Trish Summerville has been collaborating with fashion designers and giving them their due credit, providing a different idea of what it means to be a costume designer.
At Autostraddle, Carmen reflects on growing up poor and “making it” by getting a well-paying job. It’s fiery and magnificent:
You know? I’m here. I pay my rent, and my bills, and I feed Eli every day and I buy snacks at convenience stores when I’m hungry and I feel mobile. I feel free. I look up at the sky some mornings just to accept my own limitlessness, just to feel bigger, just to remember the whole of the world I’ve erupted from. Lots of other people in my position feel stuck, or feel stifled, or feel like everything they had growing up is out of reach; they struggle to cut down on their spending, they struggle to find outlets for retail therapy or their wanderlust or their love of high-brow culture. But I spend my days marveling at what I have, eager not necessarily to earn more, but to give more back – back to my mom, back to me. I’m making up for lost time on a starting salary. It only gets better from here. I’m free now because I was freed then, because I know how to eat one bag of rice for seven entire days or find solace in a DVD or feel luxe wearing a new pair of twenty-dollar boots. I’m free now because money never owned me, and money never made me happy.
Stacey May Fowles at the Walrus reflects on growing up in a Canadian suburb under the shadow of the Scarborough Rapist, and how that twisted the way the women of her community were treated and the way girls learned about their bodies.
Dr. Nerdlove discusses how traditional masculinity hurts men and how we need to redefine manliness into something inherent, instead of something to be proved at the expense of others.
On a related note, the creators of Miss Representation are going to make a documentary that explores American traditional masculinity called The Mask You Live In.
Diana Hulburt at the Toast talks queer sexuality in adaptations of the King Arthur myth.
At Comics Alliance, Andrew Wheeler looks at the upcoming Loki: Agent of Asgard (featuring a young, sexy, and queer Loki) and puts it in context with pop culture using queerness as a shorthand for villainy and Marvel’s own titles with headlining queer characters.
To celebrate Doctor Who’s fiftieth anniversary, artist Bill Mudron has remixed the Bayeux Tapestry to tell the Doctor’s story. This is totally cross-stitchable, right?
The US Postal Service is printing Harry Potter stamps, because you don’t own us, England.
Dorian Lynskey at The Guardian looks at the history of Beatlemania, touching on other music fandoms and the idea that a screaming Beatlemaniac was performing a ritual that affirmed her own agency.
Added: The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable (via work), Culinary Intelligence by Peter Kaminsky (via work), Sister Citizen by Melissa V. Harris-Perry, Scandals of Classic Hollywood by Helen Anne Petersen (via the Hairpin), Mothers of the Novel by Dean Spencer (via Among the Janeites)