- Dead Lesbians Versus None At All: A Brief History of Lesbian Pulp Fiction. – This post is from March but it’s new to me and a super interesting look at mid-century erotic pulp novels.
These novels, cheaply printed and mass produced for sale in places like drug stores, were more or less formulaic in their plots, characters, settings and situations. More often than not, these novels ended with the gay woman (usually the stereotypically weak and overtly feminised lady) either being ‘converted’ to heterosexuality by a virile and masculine male figure, or ending up ‘miserable, alcoholic, suicidal or insane. So the surface “message” wasn’t a subtle one. A lot of these novels were written by men for men, although the ones that have stood the test of time (and the ones I studied at university) are by women. Even within the confines of a homophobic society and a genre seen as being solely for titillation, lesbian writers were writing that they wanted to see, and often what they wanted to live.
- Lost Dr Seuss stories to be republished – I love Dr. Seuss so much (likely because I have no kids and therefore haven’t read Green Eggs and Ham so much that I’ve memorized it like my mother did) and this sounds kinda cool.
A smooth-talking Grinch and a new adventure for the helpful elephant Horton feature in four largely forgotten Dr Seuss stories that will be collected for the first time this autumn.
Horton and the Kwuggerbug and More Lost Stories, out from Random House Books for Young Readers in September, brings together four of Seuss’s little-known tales which were published in Redbook magazine in the 1950s, but never released as picture books. In the title story, which dates to 1951, Horton – previously known for his efforts to rescue the Whos – is tricked into helping a tiny, insecty sort of creature who promises him: “I know of a Beezlenut tree where some Beezlenuts grow”. Horton takes the Kwuggerbug across a river and up a mountain, “while the Kwuggerbug perched on his trunk all the time / And kept yelling ‘Climb! You dumb elephant, Climb'”.
- High School Reading List – Tumblr’s medievalpoc reblogged a high school level reading list you might find useful. Diversity in YA also has a roundup of recent releases worth checking out.
Back in May, the #weneeddiversebooks campaign lit a fire to fulfill the desperate need for diverse books in children’s literature. Behind the Book has always championed efforts to find diverse authors and protagonists that will appeal to students since we serve communities of color. For your enjoyment (and enrichment), we’ve created an epic list of diverse books to reflect the diversity in our city; here’s our list for high school students.
- [TW: harassment, threats, stalking, violence, slurs, racism] – Speaking of medievalpoc, Reddit has come for them, because Reddit is terrible.
If anyone was wondering why I had to call the police several times, THIS is the kind of thing I am talking about. I have no idea whether these people were taking photos or videos of me, if they intended to harm me physically, or what they intended to do. There have been people posting images they believe are of me, following around people they believe are me, writing some of the most bizarre crap I have ever seen, sending messages to other people telling them to harass me, posting what they believe is my “real name”, my workplace, and anything they think has to do with my personal life.
To reiterate: there were literally people following me around in person to try and “catch me” in…I don’t know, existing?… because I blog about art history and race.
And there are even more people who believe that I deserve this, because I have the unspeakable gall to post about art history.
- Being a Better Online Reader – This New Yorker article on online reading must be the most even-handed take on the subject that I’ve seen so far. It acknowledges the potential for ill effects but also accepts that it’s here to stay and we need to adapt to it.
Maybe the decline of deep reading isn’t due to reading skill atrophy but to the need to develop a very different sort of skill, that of teaching yourself to focus your attention. (Interestingly, Cairo found that gamers were often better online readers: they were more comfortable in the medium and better able to stay on task.) In a study comparing digital and print comprehension of a short nonfiction text, Rakefet Ackerman and Morris Goldsmith found that students fared equally well on a post-reading multiple-choice test when they were given a fixed amount of time to read, but that their digital performance plummeted when they had to regulate their time themselves. The digital deficit, they suggest, isn’t a result of the medium as such but rather of a failure of self-knowledge and self-control: we don’t realize that digital comprehension may take just as much time as reading a book.
- The Mystical Disability Trope – Disability in KidLit’s Corinne Duyvis talks about a cliched portrayal of disabled people that drives me up a wall. I think it irks me so much because it feels like the twist relies on the reader to be surprised that a disabled person holds any value.
At its core, it’s about a disabled character—frequently mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and/or blind—with some sort of unusual ability. While this trope is related to that of the “disability superpower” and often overlaps, I feel like it has a unique status of its own. Rather than just any superpower, these abilities are often unexplained and mysterious; the characters either hold or are the clue to saving the day, giving them a unique, mystical role in the plot.
A blind girl who’s the only one to see the ghosts haunting the main characters.
A little kid with Down’s syndrome who solves the riddle everyone is struggling with.
A schizophrenic person whose seemingly nonsensical ramblings hold the clue to the mystery.
An autistic boy with world-altering powers beyond anyone’s comprehension.
- Not Without A Fight: The Push To Make Beacon Hill Wheelchair Accessible – I can’t even tell you how ridiculous Beacon Hill residents have been about installing curb cuts. At a recent hearing, a resident actually suggested having a lane for wheelchair users in the street as an alternative. Rich people are bonkers.
Beacon Hill needs to get over itself. What does is say about access (to government and beyond) that the crosswalk leading from the Boston Common to the front gate of our capitol building has no ramp? “Welcome to the State House! Watch your step on the curb, and tread carefully on the uneven bricks!”
When did pretty sidewalks become more important than the ability of everyone to use them? Have Beacon Hill residents become so used to their gorgeous surroundings that a pleasing aesthetic must extend to the very ground beneath their feet?
- Hey, Miss Idaho, Is That An Insulin Pump On Your Bikini? – This is a great example of how empowering it can be to finally see a reflection of yourself deemed to be beautiful.
There she is, Miss Idaho. And there it is, the insulin pump attached to her bikini bottom during the swimsuit competition. Since posting the photo on social media on Monday, Sierra Sandison has become a new hero to the Type 1 diabetes community.
One mother wrote on Facebook, “You changed my 11-year-old daughter’s summer! She’s been so self-conscious, but since she read about you and saw this photo, she cannot wait to wear a bathing suit tomorrow and show off her insulin [pump] and have me post a photo here!”
And that woman is not alone. As of Thursday afternoon, the photo has received more than 4,000 “likes” and over 2,500 “shares” on Facebook. Twitter users are responding to the hashtag she created, #showmeyourpump, with their own pump photos.
- After the ‘White Lie’ Implodes, a Rich Narrative Unfurls – This looks like an interesting documentary about race and identity by a mixed-race Jewish woman from New York.
“I come from a long line of New York Jews,” she says early in the film, as photographs of her white relatives flash across the screen. “My family knew who they were, and they defined who I was.”
Ms. Schwartz was an only child who grew up in the mostly white town of Woodstock, N.Y. Her parents, Peggy and Robert Schwartz, told her that she favored her father’s swarthy Sicilian grandfather. It was not until she went off to college that she learned the truth.
Before starting college, “I was already questioning my whiteness because of what other people said and because I was aware that I looked different from my family,” she said in a recent interview. Then, based on the photograph accompanying her application, Georgetown University passed her name along to the black student association, which contacted her.
The university “gave me permission” to explore a black identity, Ms. Schwartz said.
After her first year, she confronted her mother, and Peggy Schwartz acknowledged that her biological father was an African-American with whom she had had an extramarital affair.
- ON WOMEN AND SPORTS: An important announcement – Between Ray Rice and the comments about Erin Andrews, I feel like there’s been a lot of talk lately about women and pro sports. I loved this unapologetic declaration that we female sports fans exist and we’re not to be underestimated. (Hint, hint, for authors of sports romance who think we won’t notice if you fudge the details.)
When I was growing up, I didn’t like sports. My dad watched NFL football, Formula 1 racing, World Superbike, and the Tour de France. My mom hated all sports. I played lacrosse in high school, and that was it.
And then one day, I got sports. I understood. I got the tension in your ears when the game is about to come on and the reporters in the studio throw it to the booth at the game, and I got the sweats when it’s 3rd and 2 and your team is on their opponent’s 38 yard line and goddamn it, we can make this drive count if we just get two fucking yards. I got sports hard and bad and obsessively and compulsively. I’ve forgotten about jobs I’ve had and people I’ve met but I’ll remember wheel routes on second down forever.
You got sports, too. I don’t know how it felt for you, but you know how it happened, and the moment it did, you were different, because now you had sports.
- Foul Territory – There was a post going around Twitter by a former minor league baseball player about sexual excess and what appeared to be sexual assault that took place ten years ago. It bothered me a bit, especially because people were calling him “brave” for talking about sexual assault he witnessed and did nothing to stop, and this post does a good job of identifying the problems.
The day before the piece was released, Hayhurst tweeted (and later deleted) “tomorrow I light the world afire,” a sentiment that suggested he was more social justice warrior than part of the problem. Somehow the combination of sports and rape makes the rules of appropriate action and repentance dramatically different, suggesting we should collectively praise Hayhurst for the mere act of opening his mouth. In fact, the bar for sports dialogue is so low that a quick tour of the article’s comments reveals people (mostly men) congratulating him for speaking out, and for articulating a hope that others will read his piece with the goal of “raising awareness.” Prominent “progressive” sports media types and “male feminists” have shared the piece enthusiastically, praising its importance and declaring it a must read. But for those of us who understand that toxic masculinity and the threat of sexual violence are terrors that women face daily—especially within sports culture—there has been no such admiration. We remain both unsurprised and unimpressed.
- This means war: why the fashion headdress must be stopped – With music festivals banning the war bonnet, you’d hope sports teams follow suit.
The right to dress like an idiot is a fundamental principle of festival culture, but at this weekend’s Bass Coast electronic music festival in British Columbia, Canada, one particular kind of idiot will not be welcome. Last week, the organisers told festival-goers that Native American feathered headdresses, also known as war bonnets, would not be permitted on site. “We understand why people are attracted to war bonnets,” they wrote on the festival’s Facebook page. “They have a magnificent aesthetic. But their spiritual, cultural and aesthetic significance cannot be separated. Bass Coast festival takes place on indigenous land and we respect the dignity of aboriginal people.”
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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.