- Love and Sex in the Dark Future by Angelia Sparrow – Sparrow has a quick post here talking about love, sex and romantic relationships in dystopian worlds.
Romance is all about transformation though the power of love. But what happens when love bumps its nose against control, against a whole world designed to keep everyone in their place and everything moving smoothly?
Dystopia is a popular form of SF, and much of it recently has written for the YA market. (I was deeply disappointed that the Divergent series is written in present tense. I’ll just wait for the films) The teens, when everything seems the bleakest, is a prime time for dystopia. I read 1984 and Brave New World, as well as Nourse’s The Blade Runner (about an illegal doctor) in my teens.
Sex in dystopias tends to fall into one of three categories: highly restricted and regulated, used by the government as a constant distraction for the citizens, or slotted into pure routine. Love is discouraged in all forms of totalitarian futures, because love inspires people to irrational acts of individuality and throws society out of kilter.
- Gay Romance Meet Up in Seattle 2014- Recap – Leah attended the Gay Romance Northwest event and shares her thoughts about their f/f and lesbian programming.
So, last weekend I attended the Gay Romance NW meet up in Seattle. I know they had this event last year for the first time, but to be honest, “Gay” romance suggested to me that it was more for authors and readers of m/m, which I no longer read. So I basically ignored it even though I’ve really enjoyed the books of some of the authors of m/m that live in the area and attended last year. Since I pretty much only read f/f/m and lesbian, I didn’t see the point to go last year.
This year I saw that Len Barot/ Radclyffe/ L.L. Raand, president of Bold Strokes Books and an author herself, was attending and I felt that that might be a good sign that there would be more authors and readers of lesbian attending, making it more interesting to me.
- What We Talk About When We Say No One’s Talking About Hope Solo – A much-needed piece that discusses Hope Solo’s abuse case and calls out those who use it to score points in the discussion about DV in the NFL.
We must be nearing the last act in the “NFL and domestic violence” story cycle: media pundits are now calling for Hope Solo to be pilloried. Fans of the USWNT will know well that Solo is facing assault charges. That story is not new. Washington Post editors might want to claim that this is “the domestic violence case that no one is talking about,” but that claim only works if we ignore the Seattle Times, which, for example, has covered the story consistently, and responsibly, through their Seattle Sounders FC blog (Solo plays for Seattle Reign). The fact is that the national news media basically doesn’t give a shit about women’s sports stories unless they can be made into stories about men. Unless Solo’s case, in other words, can appear as a footnote to the Ray Rice story and (worse) absorbed into some broad popular sense that women, in general, are somehow getting away with something.
- Study: TV Hurts the Self-Esteem of Girls and Children of Color, But Bolsters Boys – This is an older post that Mikki Kendall tweeted today that I found corroborated what lots of people have suggested.
The usual caveats apply, but I was interested to read through this study out of Indiana University which tracked children’s television viewing habits over a year and found that both white and African-American girls and African-American boys’ saw their self esteem take a television-related hit, while white boys felt better about themselves.
The study’s based on a couple of central ideas, all of which I found to be useful clarifications of ideas I use to explain the impact of media on people of all ages. First, there’s a homogenizing effect of television, which establishes common expectations for which jobs, bodies, and standards of living: “common features of the television landscape pervade all forms of program- ming. Cultivation theory offers an explanation for how white collar jobs, the thin ideal, power, and wealth may come to be perceived as commonplace and easily achievable.” In other words, the fact that television characters have what seem like the same three or four occupations creates a kind of closure. There’s a tricky balance to be achieved here: “research demonstrates that upward comparisons can actually be beneficial to people when they are led to believe that attainment of the depicted achievements is possible.” But if it’s actually harder than portrayed to achieve any of the conditions portrayed on television in real life, that could produce poor self-esteem if someone thinks the failure is theirs, not the media’s. And boys, more than girls, are the beneficiaries of positive messages about what to aspire to. Finally, “Milkie (1999) argues that viewers struggle to avoid self-evaluations with media messages because the mass media alter societal ideas about what is normative. If children believe that others (e.g., peers, family) use such mes- sages to evaluate them, White girls and Black children cannot simply ignore mass media messages as a comparative referent.”
- Publishing’s Holding Pattern: 2014 Salary Survey – Publisher’s Weekly writes about the results of their annual survey and it explains so much.
Employees at publishing houses worked a little bit longer each week and made a little more money in 2013 than they did in 2012. Those were just two of the findings of PW’s annual salary survey, which was conducted this summer and which, for the first time, featured a number of questions on racial diversity in the industry. While it’s no surprise that the publishing sector is overwhelmingly white, the lack of diversity is a bit eye-opening: of the 630 respondents who identified their race, 89% described themselves as white/Caucasian, with 3% selecting Asian and another 3% indicating Hispanic. Only 1% said they are African-American.
The annual survey was sent to nearly 7,500 PW subscribers who work at publishing houses, and a total of about 800 responded. Sixty-one percent of respondents, including 60% of those who identified as white, said that there is little diversity in publishing, while 28% were ambivalent. Only 11% said they think diversity is not an issue.
- The Death of Adulthood in American Culture: Nerd Culture Edition – As a thirtysomething who regularly plays videogames and saw the Transformers movie multiple times in the theater, I was starting to wonder when adulthood would set in. Apparently it’s been canceled. Good to know.
When Pokémon XY was released, my Twitter list exploded with excitement. Who wanted to trade? What was your battle team of choice, and how did you choose to balance out your team’s skills? What goofy names are you giving your Pokémon?
My Twitter list does not consist of children and teenagers, by the by. These were adults, all spreading the gospel of the pocket monster. Granted, I deal with a lot of gaming and nerd culture videographers and bloggers so it wasn’t too shocking, but it wasn’t just them; people who had nothing to do with gaming—successful authors, bloggers, film critics—all playing this game, discussing the trading of their digital beasties and posting share codes. But the remarkable thing to me was the lack of shame in these adult consumers. They weren’t consuming their children’s media in secret, the way a fifth grader in the 90’s might have hidden away to indulge in watching some Power Rangers despite knowing they were “too old” for it (I may or may not be speaking from experience), but rather they were sharing in a community, enjoying it openly and shamelessly.