Links: Tuesday, April 1st

April 1, 2014 Links 4

A black vaudeville actress, Aida Overton Walker, circa 1900. She sits in a carved wooden chair wearing a high-necked gown decorated with lace and embroidery and has her hair piled on top of her head.Black Vaudeville Photoset

  • Some (More) Scattered Thoughts About Romancelandia, Overthinking, and Balance – A great post from Pamela where she muses about how she reads and reviews and wonders if reading closely sucks the fun out of it or if it’s just another way of enjoying what she reads.

    My response to Jessie, and to Laura, is another question… Does critical thinking take me out of the immersive experience, or is writing a long analytic response that interrogates the mechanics and messages of a novel actually another way I immerse myself? Perhaps I seek to have my cake and eat it too, and this is possible for me because I’m actually unschooled in formal literary theory (I was trained as an art historian) and I have sort of an a’ la carte approach to critical thinking… that is, while I derive great satisfaction from reading romances that challenge me, questioning my choices, and seeking deeper meanings and connections, I also reserve the right to read just for fun and to share and compare notes about what I think is fun and entertaining and engaging, without always going deep. I can’t be one or the other; I want to be both.

  • The curious incidence of autistics in fiction – Autistic author Penny Gotch talks about portrayals of autism in fiction and how popular books can amplify stereotypes rather than create awareness. A few commenters left links for lists of autistic authors.

    People don’t listen to autistics. We’re either too “low-functioning” to understand, or too “high-functioning” to count. Non-autistics silence us. Non-autistics talk over us. And now, non-autistics are telling our stories for us.

    But surely any writer can cover any topic if they do sufficient research. So what did these authors do? Some worked with autistic children. Some have autistic children. Some spoke to the families of autistics. And one might be autistic herself.

    None of them spoke to actual autistics. None of them consulted the people with first-hand experience of being autistic and experiencing the world that way.

  • Response to the RWA Board’s Statement on the #RITAGH Contest – Author Laura Kaye has another post about the Rita award’s shortcomings and includes an emailed statement from the RWA board.

    I am also greatly concerned that the current RWA board seems to think that narrowing our definition of romance and excellence in published romance best serves our collective interests. Given that many of us don’t operate within those narrow definitions and that most readers do not conceive of the books they love that way, this does not seem to best serve the interests of career-focused romance writers.

    Already, so much conversation on this response has happened this morning. I hope the board understands how distressed many in the RWA community are over the contest and people’s feeling that the board is not hearing our concerns.

  • Sometimes You’ve Gotta Fight To Get A Bit of Peace – Chanda Hsu Prescod-Weinstein talks about how homophobia doesn’t disappear once a marriage certificate is obtained, and how it broke up one marriage and threatens her current one. (DO NOT LOOK AT THE COMMENTS, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Gawker has these great posts sometimes, but the commentariat is hot garbage.)

    By the time I became engaged again, this time to a cisman, I had learned to be weary of other people’s parents. Other people’s parents seemed to have a habit of thinking that I was part of some kind of wild lesbian conspiracy: to take advantage of someone’s kindness, to steal sperm, to steal money. The tales people concocted were both hilarious and horrifying. When my then boyfriend was making plans to tell his parents about me, I urged him to let them know I am queer, queer enough to have made a (failed) life commitment to another woman. My now husband, in an understandable mistake but a mistake nonetheless, took advantage of what is sometimes called “bisexual privilege” and kept me in the closet to his parents.

  • Who’s Afraid of Suey Park? – Julia Carrie Wong at the Nation talks about Twitter activist Suey Park and #CancelColbert. I’m not Park’s #1 fan, but the reaction to her has been beyond ridiculous. I peeked at her mentions and they were an absolute pit of rank misogyny and racism. God forbid she find a joke unfunny.

    We have been told that Colbert’s joke was aimed at the abhorrent racism of the name of the Washington football team, and that bringing up the question of racism aimed at Asian Americans is a distraction that will hurt the cause of Native Americans. This is a charge that would be easier to swallow were it not that so many of the writers putting forward this argument have never written about changing the name of the team themselves. Park and many of her fellow #CancelColbert tweeters have a history of engaging in Twitter activism against the team’s name alongside Native American activists: See #NotYourMascot as one example. Meanwhile, the idea that Colbert is more valuable to the fight against racism than people of color who are engaging in anti-racist activism on their own terms comes perilously close to a white savior argument that deserves serious scrutiny.

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Ridley

An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.

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4 Responses to “Links: Tuesday, April 1st”

  1. nu

    I thought this was a good response to the backlash against Suey Park too, and there was a pretty entertaining convo on Twitter, esp. Rania Khalek’s TL, about mainstream media’s fear of grassroots activism and “weaponized hashtags” (#WeaponizedHashtag), as Dave Weigel called them. This dude summed it up: “If your greatest fear is a ‘weaponized hashtag’ as opposed to say, racism/violence/police/drones, you’re winning.”

  2. Roslyn Holcomb

    I’m not a Suey Park fan, either, so it’s almost impossible for me to look at anything she does or says with an unbiased opinion. Personally I think these hashtag “activists” take themselves far too seriously, but maybe I’m missing something. I’ve followed and participated in #NotYourMascot and I’ve seen images and such about other groups used in a similar manner as Colbert did in his bit and the tweet, so I’m not sure why anyone is offended now. I saw Colbert’s bit and thought it was funnier than hell. The tweet was not funny, primarily because it was out of context and satire does not convey well in 140 characters.

    As for the gawker article, I’m really not sure why she married this man knowing he hadn’t told his parents the truth about her, especially in light of what happened in her first marriage. Presumably he knew how they would react and that’s why he kept it a secret, and that would be all well and good except that now he’s all bummed out about it. If you know what your family is like and you choose to buck against it, what the hell are you crying over?

  3. Laura Vivanco

    I don’t know much about autism or how it should be depicted but I couldn’t finish Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project because it seemed incredibly patronising. The narrator was constantly undermined by the fact that the reader is supposed to understand things he doesn’t. It felt as though he was being set up for laughs instead of having his (often very logical) viewpoint validated by the story. I had to stop reading after just a few chapters.

  4. nu

    Did anyone see the New Yorker blog about Park? I think Colbert and Stuart are staunch allies against racism, but I see her point. According to the blog, she was trying to draw attention to using one racial stereotype to criticize a slur and using shock tactics to do that. She didn’t want the show literally cancelled. (Neither do I; nobody else on TV talks about this stuff for even 30s.)