- Srsly. – The LA Review of Books has a wonderful review of Mallory Ortberg’s book that made me want to buy the book immediately.
The title Texts from Jane Eyre sounds a bit like the book will offer equal-opportunity literary skewering — it doesn’t necessarily sound like an forceful piece of feminist writing. But in fact, the book focuses its ridicule mostly on the behavior of self-styled male geniuses, both authors and characters, who childishly demand that their genius be catered to, coddled, and reinforced.
Genius, of course, is not necessarily male, but Ortberg’s work makes us realize the extent to which the idea of genius — let’s mark it as Genius with a capital G — remains strangely masculinized; strikingly available to men regardless of their actual talent. The genre of the phone text, as I will discuss, becomes the form of text — text here in the literary sense — most able to reveal how social power and literary prominence align.
Practically speaking, what this means is that Ortberg’s Texts from Jane Eyre is not only a major work of bathroom humor reading, but also a significant contribution to feminist literary criticism. It is difficult to imagine another book that would both be a perfect stocking stuffer and an exemplary text for a seminar in literary studies.
- TRAVELS IN ENGLAND 1782: Vauxhall – The History Hoydens posted an interesting contemporary account of Vauxhall Gardens in its prime.
Here and there (particularly in one of the charming woods which art has formed in this garden) you are pleasingly surprised by the sudden appearance of the statues of the most renowned English poets and philosophers, such as Milton, Thomson, and others. But, what gave me most pleasure was the statue of the German composer Handel, which, on entering the garden, is not far distant from the orchestra.
This orchestra is among a number of trees situated as in a little wood, and is an exceedingly handsome one. As you enter the garden, you immediately hear the sound of vocal and instrumental music. There are several female singers constantly hired here to sing in public.
On each side of the orchestra are small boxes, with tables and benches, in which you sup. The walks before these, as well as in every other part of the garden, are crowded with people of all ranks. I supped here with Mr. S–r, and the secretary of the Prussian ambassador, besides a few other gentlemen from Berlin; but what most astonished me was the boldness of the women of the town, who often rushed in upon us by half dozens, and in the most shameless manner importuned us for wine, for themselves and their followers. Our gentlemen thought it either unwise, unkind, or unsafe, to refuse them so small a boon altogether.
- Questions as WAM! Announces Twitter Collaboration to Address Online Harassment – Tech and startup culture commentator Shanley Kane weighs in with her concerns about Twitter’s approach to dealing with gendered harassment on their platform.
Today, Women, Action & the Media (WAM!) announced an “unprecedented collaboration” with Twitter to address online harassment. WAM!’s pilot program asks Twitter users experiencing gendered harassment to submit their experiences to the organization through a web form: “WAM! will escalate validated reports to Twitter and track Twitter’s responses to different kinds of gendered harassment.”
WAM! will then work with Twitter to incorporate learnings from the program into its abuse handling.
While it’s exciting to see new, concrete programs to combat online harassment — particularly ones that seek to address multiple aspects and intersections of online harassment — the news raises a few questions. Including: what is the true extent of Twitter’s engagement with the program? The online blog post and press release are somewhat vague, and don’t include a quote from Twitter, which would at least indicate vocal and explicit support. The community has been asking for clear commitment from Twitter to prioritize online abuse handling, and this doesn’t feel like clear commitment.
- Wearables Are Totally Failing the People Who Need Them Most – The knowledge is available for a wide-range of adaptive tech, but so long as disabled people are othered and deemed unprofitable, none of this tech will reach us.
As the Internet of Things becomes an actual thing, more steps are being counted, more sleep patterns are being logged, more activities are being app-ified. What isn’t appearing in the data is much common sense or ambition. Instead, developers continue flocking to a saturated market filled with hipster pet rocks, devices that gather reams of largely superficial information for young people whose health isn’t in question, or at risk.
It’s a shame because the people who could most benefit from this technology—the old, the chronically ill, the poor—are being ignored. Indeed, companies seem more interested in helping the affluent and tech-savvy sculpt their abs and run 5Ks than navigating the labyrinthine world of the FDA, HIPAA, and the other alphabet soup bureaucracies. This may be their own undoing, as there is a very real—and potentially lucrative—potential to shake up the healthcare system and frack the $2 trillion annual cost of chronic disease.
- Heroes, Martyrs, And Myths: The Battle For The Rights Of Transgender Athletes – Parker Marie Molloy talks about the long history of transgender and intersex athletes while dispelling common myths.
“All those hours driving and helping your daughter hone her natural skill; seeing her earn varsity playing time as a freshman—only to watch years of hard work and a chance at that Division I dream fall flat if a boy (who identifies as female) trumped her for her spot on the varsity team?”
The argument is so wrong, so bizarre, and so offensive that it’s hard to know where to begin. Hell, it’s the plot of the movie Ladybugs. Leva obviously hasn’t noticed that in the states and districts with pro-trans policies, boys are not exactly lining up to dominate girls’ leagues. She is arguing that less competition means greater likelihood of success. While this is true, it ignores that the world is better if we can all compete. Competition, after all, is the point of sports.
Unfortunately, Leva’s argument is also typical. The fact is, even as controversies like the one in Minnesota persist, there have been trans athletes for decades. And examination of the history of trans athletes in international competition reveals that for as long as trans men and women have been competing, bureaucracies and buffoons around the world have attempted to discredit them.
- Julien Blanc, the ‘female attraction’ expert, glorifies sexual violence. The fewer seminars he holds, the better – If you’ve never heard of the PUA – Pick Up Artist – movement, this profile of one of its leaders is a good example of how disgusting and predatory it is.
Julien Blanc, a “dating coach” working for US company Real Social Dynamics, is visiting Australia this week to host a series of pick-up artistry seminars.
Through a program comprising online videos and in-person classes, the company has built a business model which preys on lonely desperate men, offering them the promise of female sexual attention through force when it doesn’t exist by will. The instruction and promotion of abuse and the total violation of consent is this company’s stock in trade.
Blanc’s “PhD in female attraction” involves a disturbing fixation with physical violence. Blanc proudly posts photos across social media of him propositioning women in chokeholds using the hashtag “#ChokingGirlsAroundTheWorld”.