- Today in Tabs: I Will Only Bleed Here – Although I easily could have, I didn’t want to do an all-Ferguson links post, as coverage is sort of inescapable and the events weigh heavily on many. I went with just this post because it combines a poignant personal account with links to and excerpts from lots of other excellent reactions.
I spent last night at a bar, very drunk, trying to figure out what I’d say. I’d spent the day trying to accept what I already knew—that there’d be no indictment, that justice didn’t and never has lived here. I don’t know that she ever will. I’d blind her if I could.
After work, a friend and I split a bottle of wine at some place downtown. We sat outside, in the unseasonable warmth, and I thought about the heat in Ferguson on that Saturday in August, five days after my birthday; that heat from the summer that hasn’t died down. I didn’t tell my friend what I was thinking, but on the way there I told her how my body felt. My mouth is dry, I said, and there’s a lump in my throat. There is a tight low ache in my stomach. “Those are classic symptoms of anxiety,” she replied. The wine didn’t help.
- How To Tell If You Are In a Regency Romance Novel – God bless the Toast. Such a treasure.
1. You are either a virgin or a sad and lovely widow whose husband was lost at sea. You are spirited, but still passing ladylike.
2. Your father is away in the colonies protecting his tobacco interests, or a bumbling idiot, or a gambler. His character flaws lead to you becoming betrothed to a man you’ve never met.
3. Your dance card is filled up with the names of eligible gentlemen who are excessively unattractive.
4. You have a maiden aunt who despairs of you. You have a gaggle of sisters of marriageable age and they are all silly.
5. You are an incorrigible womanizer and you have lived in France. You are squandering your sizeable inheritance on loose women and card tables. You may very well be a pirate.
- Jacqueline Woodson: ‘I don’t want anyone to feel invisible’ – I loved this write-up in the Guardian about Brown Girl Dreaming and why Woodson wrote it.
The clean simplicity of Woodson’s writing delivers beautiful and deep metaphors. A dying grandfather is comforted by young Jacqueline’s stories, and she remarks: “This I can do – find him another place to be / when this world is choking him.” The entire book is a love letter to the power of stories, in fact, though it doesn’t overly sentimentalise how others react to storytelling. “Keep making up stories, my uncle says,” the narrator writes. “You’re lying, my mother says.”
Woodson says she began writing the book when her mother died suddenly. She described the death as a “wake-up call that the people I love, and the people who know my story, and the people who know my history are not always going to be here.” Writing became a quest to make sure some kind of record existed. “I just started writing down memories,” she said, and gradually she came to realise there were holes in hers.
- Asian-American Sephora Customers With Closed Accounts File Discrimination Lawsuit – I don’t wear makeup, but I gather that Sephora is a major cosmetics retailer. Apparently they have some decision makers who didn’t think things through and/or thought no one would notice their racial profiling.
The four lead plaintiffs in this lawsuit are women of Chinese descent and Sephora shoppers who live in New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. We know that the Sephora.com site crashed on November 6, the company later blamed the failure on “high levels of bulk buys for reselling purposes in North America and other countries.” What this lawsuit alleges is what many customers claimed in makeup forums and posts to Sephora’s social media pages: that accounts targeted for shutdown were were under names or e-mail addresses that “appeared to signify Chinese/Asian race/ethnicity/national origin/descent regardless of the web domain used” and/or e-mail accounts on Asian-based sites such as qq.com, 126.com, or 163.com. Their complaint (PDF download) provides examples of customers other than the four named plaintiffs who had similar issues, and claims that whether a customer had an Asian-sounding name was the only piece of criteria that Sephora used in deciding which accounts to deactivate during the site crash crisis.
- No, Nate, brogrammers may not be macho, but that’s not all there is to it – Zeynep Tufekci talks about Nate Silver, nerds and cultural capital and how the status quo in tech is maintained.
In a nutshell, I think this paragraph helps explain a reasonable chunk of Silicon Valley’s gender problems. Many tech guys, many young and recently ascendant, think something along these lines: “Wait, we’re not the jocks. We aren’t the people who were jerks. We never pushed anyone into a locker and smashed their face. We’re the people who got teased for being brainy, for not being macho, the ones who never got a look from the popular girls (or boys), the ones who were bullied for our interests in science and math, and… what’s wrong with Dungeons & Dragons, anyway?”
In other words, as Silver puts it, “We’re outsiders, basically.”
There are two ways to explain what’s missing in this picture: French social theory and Dr. Seuss.
- The Fifty Shades of Grey Hater quiz – This is a nuanced and thoughtful and not at all defensive or knee-jerk reaction.
Happy Fifty Shades of Grey readers are all alike; each Fifty Shades of Grey hater is a hater in his or her own way. Well, not quite. I’ve identified at least five species of Fifty Shades Hater and classified them here on the basis of the argument at the core of their hate. So haters, go ahead and take the quiz: what type of Fifty Shades of Grey hater are you?