Tag Archives: linkspam

Sunday linkdump: Everything I love is on the table

image by Rob Wanenchak

There is a lot this week.

  • I wrote a thing for The Sociological Cinema on teaching with SF and the myths that underpin social inequality.

    Myths and legends are all-too-often dismissed as untrue; what this attitude fails to recognize is that the deepest, most foundational stories are persistent precisely because the best of them are vectors for the most profound elements of who we are, of how we understand ourselves to be, of where we imagine we might go. These things may be harmful, they may reproduce things that we find undesirable, but we need to understand them on their own terms before we can act.

  • “My So-Called ‘Post-Feminist’ Life in Arts and Letters.” What it’s like to be a woman saying things and writing books. There is some potentially triggering stuff in here about rape (non-explicit) and general misogyny. I have no particular triggers and I found it upsetting.

    I consider throwing in the towel. The lack of respectful coverage, the slut-shaming and name-calling, all the girly book covers and not-my-titles despite high literary aspirations, has worn me down, made me question everything: my abilities, my future, my life. This is what sexism does best: it makes you feel crazy for desiring parity and hopeless about ever achieving it. A few months later, after delivering a lecture on the media-invented “mommy wars” at the Sun Valley Writers’ Conference, a song pops up on my iPhone as I’m walking back to my hotel room: Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone.” “When you ain’t got nothing,” Dylan sings, “you got nothing to lose.”

    Yes, I think. Yes.

  • “‘You’ve Lost Weight! You Look Great!’ Isn’t a Compliment.” I have felt this forever but haven’t articulated it to myself anywhere near this well, and oh my god yes yes yes

    When we think of it in that way, it’s not such a great compliment. It’s a set-up for self-consciousness and negative self-judgment of our past selves. When remarking on weight loss is offered as a compliment, the speaker clearly thinks that there’s been a noticeable and notable improvement in how the person looks. Without the normative standard of “thinner is better,” the comment would have no value as a compliment at all.

  • “Why I Will Still #uninstallmendeley.” If you use academic citation software, if you care about the state of academic publishing, if you care about justice and righteousness, read.

    If Mendeley wants to hitch their horse to the Monsanto of academic publishing they can be my guest. The service will probably be amazing. But remember that the money they gave you –all the new resources you have at your disposal– were purchased with tuition money and charitable donations that should have gone to higher education. Instead, it went to Elsevier (and Thompson Reuter, and Springer and…) so that they could find new and inventive ways of hiding research so that they could continue to charge exorbitant prices.

  • “Autofill Mythologies.” Fantastic piece on information and imagination and our experiences of difficult urban spaces.

    Lewis Lapham once argued that the imagined city, the one of our collective making, is realer than what we’re fed by maps and demographics, buildings and structures. The ideas, the symbols, ultimately carry more for us than the realities of its dwellers—the people in the neighborhoods that you see when you’re walking down the street.

  • “Needing a Bigger N+1.” This is a wonderfully biting response to a terrible essay on why critical sociology is useless and how there’s too much of it. That piece is actually not worth reading if you don’t want to; the response summarizes its major points pretty well.

    Insofar as you want to make an institutional critique of sociology… well, I pay an extraordinary (for me) fee to a disciplinary association tasked with intervening in public debates and government policy. We have strong disciplinary traditions and mythologies of activism, including Hull House and the Feminist Wire. We give a fecking ASA award. I’m not saying our house is 100% in order, but if I have to shift into your all/nothing, everyone/no one idiom, I’m going to say we’re all clear.

  • “When Facebook Stopped Being Fun.” Facebook users are growing up. This does not entirely bode well for Facebook.

    Facebook is like a nightmarishly intense, never-ending school reunion where all of the people you don’t really want to talk to get to expose their lives in self-congratulatory detail. Resentment for that is remarkably difficult to dispel.

  • “The writer’s neuroses.” All of this is so incredibly painfully true.

    What if my life work, these novels that I have tried to make as clear and articulate and passion-filled and honest and intelligent and entertaining and genre-resistant and accessible as I can manage, aren’t judged to be among the best? Well, as I will find out the news in a hotel room on my own I will probably end up crying on the edge of a bed while shoving salted cashews into my mouth and wishing I’d never ever written a vampire novel.

  • “Academia’s indentured servants.” Basically the system to which I have given ten years of my life and a great deal of my mental health is completely broken. I knew that because I’m IN IT, but still.

    To work outside of academia, even temporarily, signals you are not “serious” or “dedicated” to scholarship. It does not matter if you are simply too poor to stay: in academia, perseverance is redefined as the ability to suffer silently or to survive on family wealth. As a result, scholars adjunct in order to retain an institutional affiliation, while the institution offers them no respect in return.

  • “The entrepreneurial activism of Tim LaHaye’s theologized politics.” hey everyone Tim LaHaye is a very bad person

    Consider this: from 1995 through 2007, Tim LaHaye co-authored a series of runaway best-sellers steeped in John Birch Society ideology. During those years he sold more than 60 million copies of books that served as propaganda for a particular political agenda. The tea party movement sprang up in 2009, espousing the exact neo-Bircher ideology and agenda promoted in LaHaye’s novels. Is that just a remarkable coincidence?

But there is The National.

Sunday linkdump

No preamble. Let’s do this.

  • “Bigots, Bullies, and Enablers.” A Thing happened with Locus on April Fool’s Day. Jim Hines has a good summary, as well as a good argument for why it’s really not a small deal when this kind of shit happens.

    The backlash against the Locus article isn’t about someone taking cheap shots at Muslims and women. It’s about yet another person taking those shots, lining up to bully those who are already a popular target for abuse. And it’s about everyone else who stands around, encouraging and enabling that bullying.

  • “Barbie, Burquas, April Fool’s Jokes, Writer’s Advice: Small Failures Hurt Us In Big Ways.” Carrie Cuinn’s take and a related take on some additional ways in which the SF&F community is utterly failing, gender-wise.

    You know what I have seen? Comments from people telling me that I am overreacting, humorless, a radical feminist, and that I shouldn’t choose to be offended. I got an email telling me that while the SFWA author was probably wrong to say what he did, he’s not a bad guy and didn’t mean it in a bad way.

    This is the community I’m supposed to feel safe in. This is where I’m supposed to feel at home.

    Tell me how I do that if nothing is going to change.

  • And I just basically call the guy an asshole for about 800 words.

    Making jabs at marginalized people from a position of power and privilege is not “edgy”, “dangerous”, or brave. It is the status fucking quo. You’re the Man. I know you don’t want to be, but you are. You don’t live in a world where you are likely to be emotionally and physically abused, where you are likely to be disenfranchised, where you are likely to be raped, where you are likely to be fucking killed. You unbelievable asshole.

  • Roger Ebert Hails Human Existence As ‘A Triumph’.
  • “Project Bendypants: Practicing Yoga While Fat.” This was heartbreaking and also really uplifting to read.

    Of all the sports and athletics I have participated in as a fat person, yoga has sadly been one of the most judgmental and the least emotionally safe. This is particularly painful given the principles of compassion and reflection that yoga is built around. I’m not entirely sure what to do with this.

  • Surprising no one, there is a major wage gap in the game industry and it falls along gendered lines.
  • Jenny Davis offers a defense of the “red sea”.

    Though a profile picture change is a small and quiet act, it was amplified through collective action and the interplay between personal and public media. I have argued before that memes are the myths of augmented society. In this way, small personal acts, connected to a larger movement, shared interpersonally and reported internationally, become part of the story that we tell ourselves, about ourselves.

  • I wrote a thing on Pinterest and gender.

    The experience of first beginning to use the site was bizarre. It was unlike anything else I had experienced in a social media site; it was like putting on a digital dress. I could feel my gender shifting. And it was strangely liberating, as if I was – once again – in a space that was affording me the opportunity to play with an aspect of my gender that other digital spaces had not.

  • Catherynne M. Valente – “Fade to White”. Not new, per se, but I assigned this to my students this past week when we covered gender and cultural representation, and it is every bit as amazing as I remember. It’s been nominated in both the Nebula and Hugo awards for best novelette.

    Finally the dress. The team at Spotless Corp. encouraged foundational garments to emphasize the bust and waist-to-hip ratio. Sylvie wedged herself into a full length merry widow with built-in padded bra and rear. It crushed her, smoothed her, flattened her. Her waist disappeared. She pulled the dress over her bound-in body. Her mother would have to button her up; twenty-seven tiny, satin colored buttons ran up her back like a new spine. Its neckline plunged; its skirt flounced, showing calf and a suggestion of knee. It was miles of icy white lace, it could hardly be anything else, but the sash gleamed red. Red, red, red. All the world is red and I am red forever, Sylvie thought. She was inside the dress, inside the other girl.

    The other girl was very striking.

    Sylvie was fifteen years old, and by suppertime she would be engaged.

Play us off, Glitch Mob.

Line and Orbit: Roundup thingy/linkspam

So a bunch has happened with Line and Orbit in the last couple of weeks (aside from just it being released). Here are a few of the highlights:

And just a reminder: Since I’ve seen a couple of people be all like I WANT MORE IN THIS ‘VERSE there are actually two short stories in existence that provide some backstory for a couple of the characters.

  • “Thin Spun”, which was featured in the (fantastic) anthology Hellebore and Rue: Tales of Queer Women and Magic, and which deals with Kae as a child and a meeting with an Aalim in exile.
  • “Starcrossed”, which was published in Help: Twelve Tales of Healing (a benefit anthology for Doctors Without Borders), which concerns Ying the healer and a difficult confrontation with a Protectorate Peacekeeper.

And watch this space for some freebie shorts, which I and my co-author will be posting soon.

And again, to everyone who’s read it and talked it up: Thank you so much. We’re not big names, either of us, so we’re really depending on word-of-mouth to make people aware of this book. And to the people who haven’t read it yet and intend to: The single best thing you can do if you like it is the above. It’s like presents.