- F is for Fuck’s Sake, Frankly, My Dear – All of Olivia Waite’s A-Z posts have been great so far, but I can’t link to all of them. This one was just so much WTF, though, that I had to share. Avon should consider being ashamed to have published this.
Let’s imagine you are a slave on a sugar plantation in 1845 Louisiana. Which of the following things do you think you want most?
- Modern makeup
- Aerobics lessons
- Group psychotherapy (from amateurs, not professionals)
- Cosmo-style sex tips
If you answered 5. My fucking freedom or at least a decent working wage, you bigoted asshat, you are correct. But if you picked 5, you would be far too astute to be any of the characters in Sandra Hill’s Frankly, My Dear – not naïve time-traveling white supermodel heroine Selene, not emo slave-owning Creole hero James, and certainly not the cheerful and well-fed slaves on the Bayou Noir plantation, who are just so happy to have our heroine’s opinion on their physical attributes, mental health, and sexual adventures.
And yes, the aerobics lesson actually happens on-page, while everyone sings “Achy-Breaky Heart.” Hand to God, head to desk.
- Reviewing the Other: Like Dancing about Architecture – Nisi Shawl talks about identifying who a book is written for and examining your assumptions when reviewing books from outside your own culture or lived experience. There’s also a roundtable discussion on the topic. (h/t @Liz_Mc2)
Reviewers from one culture are inevitably going to miss some things, and apply different standards to others, in their readings of literature from another culture. We won’t always get everything. Better to expect such mistakes, be open about them, admit to the high likelihood of them happening. Best of all to develop enough sensitivity to be able to point out in one’s own efforts when and where they’ve probably occurred. To read carefully and note your reactions as accurately as possible.
- How Children’s Books Fuel Mascot Stereotypes – Aura Bogado interviews Pueblo teacher and blogger Debbie Reese about Native mascots, children’s literature and how to teach children’s lit without reinforcing caricatures or misleading children about history. (also h/t @Liz_Mc2)
We’ve talked about some of the pitfalls, but what should people look for when they’re seeking out children’s books that fairly represent Natives?
The number one thing that I encourage people to do is to look first at the writer. I am committed to promoting Native writers. Generally speaking they bring a sensitivity to what can and cannot be included in children’s books; there are things that tribal people protect from the public eye, and Native people know what those are. Native writers give you a measure of confidence that what you’re going to get in that book is something that can be shared, and is accurate, and something that likely reflects that author’s experience as a Native person. The second thing is that a teacher or a librarian who is going to teach that book can hold it up, and say, “This book is by Eric Gansworth, he is Onondaga*, his people are here, he is a professor.” So all of the verbs that the teacher uses to introduce that book are in the present tense rather than in the past tense. So it provides a teaching opportunity so that children can learn about where that tribe is now, where that tribe was before, they can go to that tribe’s website and see that tribal people do use the Internet! It pushes against all kinds of stereotypes when you use book written by a Native writer.
- Redface has another big day at the ballpark in Cleveland – Cleveland Frowns blogger Peter Pattakos took a photo of an Indians fan in redface that went viral last week. He gives the context behind it in this post.
At one point during the conversation I showed Rodriguez a copy of Aaron Sechrist’s artwork from the 2012 Scene cover story on the logo depicting a Chief Wahoo bobblehead next to a blackfaced lawn jockey drawn in the same style. I asked him if he’d ever show up at a baseball game in blackface, to which he replied that he wouldn’t. I then asked him why redface was any more excusable and he struggled to come up with an answer. As Allard notes in his piece, Rodriguez could only repeat that “he was an Indians fan.”
- Let’s cut Yasiel Puig some slack – I’m only a casual baseball fan, but this article about laying off Yasiel Puig should be required reading for every white male sportswriter tempted to call a young athlete, who came to the country as a teenager speaking little English to play a sport, “gutless” or worse.
In terms of style, Vladimir Guerrero’s most closely resembled Puig’s. Reckless. Raw. But so overwhelmingly skilled. Guerrero was Puig before Puig, albeit soaked in fear instead of defiance, but he got to make his mistakes pre-Internet, and more quietly in Canada. Guerrero drank from puddles as a child. He had a fifth-grade education because his mother had to put him to work in the fields.
Guerrero’s mother lived with him as a major leaguer because he was so scared of everything new and different and awful outside, and he wanted something, anything, that felt more like home. But you have to wonder how all of that plays out differently, how we and fame would mutate Guerrero, if we had dropped him in Los Angeles and immediately demanded that he star for the city and the country and the sport beginning at 22.
- Gawking At Rape Culture – Gawker’s tech/start-up culture site Valleywag wrote an article a while ago about a move to ship women in for workers to date and made the inadvisable decision to compare them to the “comfort women” of WWII in their headline. This piece goes into why joking about sexual slavery isn’t super funny.
Dundes writes that one should record all types of jokes because “jokes are always an important barometer of the attitudes of a group.” Publishing a joke about Comfort Women, or to say you would completely sanction a joke about the WWII Jewish Joy Division, does in fact give us a barometer of the attitudes prevalent at Gawker’s editorial and journalistic culture. Rape jokes attempt to make light of trauma by belittling and normalizing sexual violence against women. Gawker’s replies reflect precisely how Silicon Valley’s unabashedly aggressive, racist, misogynystic rape culture has become normalized in the tech industry. When virulent sexism is systematized in social institutions, the corresponding jokes indicate how we protect white patriarchy over the bodies, minds, and lives of women — especially women marked as minorities.
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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.