- Better, Less Offensive History – Olivia Waite attends her college reunion and some artwork she sees there leads to a great post about how historical romance whitewashes history.
What matters, I think, are not so much the mistakes, but the mistakes we insist upon repeating. Repetition creates a space for its subject, like water drops wearing away a stone; accumulation becomes important. David Manuel’s paintings depict a single historical fact: the Cayuse did in fact kill Marcus and Narcissa Whitman. But to focus on this one moment is to lose sight of the larger truth: Marcus and Narcissa Whitman were active, deliberate participants in a system whose goal was the elimination of the Cayuse people and their culture.
Similarly, historical romance has a marked tendency to focus on equalizing the oppressions of one white, straight, cis, aristocratic couple. The problem is that this is not simply one elision, in one book, by one author. It is the thousandth time this particular and very basic erasure has occurred — which means it is not precisely a mistake. It is a tactic, a narrative necessity to make the duke palatable as a hero to a modern reader’s taste. Romance authors and readers discover these rules without having to speak of them too much.
I am increasingly suspicious of rules we learn without speaking of them too much.
- Shetland Textiles: 800 BC to the Present – Knitting designer Kate Davies reviews a book on the history of Shetland fabric crafts and it has some interesting insight into the economic roles of women.
“It is important to remember, and easy to forget, that the people who knitted those tens of thousands of stockings and mittens, as well as performing other chores in and out of the home were Shetland women. It was an “honest man’s daughter” who came to Bressay Sound in 1613 with her knitting and got assaulted in the process; it was women who knitted the “Zetland hose and night caps” that Dutchmen were still buying there two centuries later; Shetland’s land rent was being paid from the women’s hosiery in 1797; they created the stockings and gloves presented to the Queen and Duchess of Kent in 1837; the “hose, half hose, gloves, mittens, under waistcoats, drawers, petticoats, night caps, shawls &c &c” in Standen’s Shetland and Scotch warehouse in 1847; and the Shetland goods on show in the Great Exhibition in 1851. And little cash they got for their pains.”
- Whose Body Is It Anyways? – A woman with muscular dystrophy talks about how doctors and caretakers pressure her to aim for a certain weight to make them more comfortable.
Weight gain for a disabled woman, I learned, was not an option.
At first it was my doctors. They warned me that my parents would not be able to lift me all my life and that I would have to find a new way to transfer from sitting to standing. This scared me. Terrified me! If no one would be able to lift me, how would I ever leave the house again or use the washroom? Then there were my attendants, who frequently made comments about my weight and how difficult it was to help me. The thought of not being able to move out on my own and go to university also terrified me.
Because of this, I started to diet, but like with any diet, especially for a person who can’t exercise, it didn’t work so well. I had to keep cutting out more and more in order to continue to lose weight. And I did lose weight. As I did, the compliments grew. But, they weren’t the compliments that you would expect. I wasn’t told that I looked better in my clothes: I was told that it was so much easier to lift me. I wasn’t told that I appeared to be healthier: I was told that it was so much easier to help me pull up my pants. The compliments weren’t about me, rather they were about how much easier I had made it to help me.
- Geeks have become their own worst enemies – Geeks have managed to become big business while also becoming bigger bullies than jocks. It’s time for their persecution complex to go.
The essence of confidence is the ability to handle critiques and the existence of challengers with grace and security in your own position. If what deBoer is describing is a permanent state, though, then a certain subset of angry geeks will prove themselves to be exactly what the once-dominant culture said they were all along: myopic and insecure. The hysterical reactions to criticism and challenge do far more damage to the proposition that geek culture contains rich forms, stories and communities worth taking seriously than any critic ever could.
- The Daily Show springs tense showdown with Native Americans on Redskins fans – There’s not anything I can really add to this. The opening paragraphs are pretty amazing.
The four die-hard Redskins fans thought the opportunity was as golden as the vintage helmets of their favorite football team: “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” wanted them to appear on the Comedy Central program to defend the team’s name, which has been under relentless attack.
The Redskins Nation citizens eagerly signed up, most of them knowing that they might be mocked in their interview with correspondent Jason Jones. But several hours into the Sept. 13 taping of the yet-to-air episode, the fans, all from Virginia, said they were suddenly confronted by a larger group of Native American activists — all of whom were in on the showdown prearranged by “The Daily Show.”
The encounter at a Dupont Circle hotel was so tense that an Alexandria fan said she left in tears and felt so threatened that she later called the police.