- Queers Destroy Science Fiction! – This Kickstarter for an edition of LIGHTSPEED magazine written and edited by people who are LGBT looks interesting.
“Why was this character gay? It didn’t add anything to the story.” “It was distracting how he had a husband instead of a wife. It made the story hard to read.” “If she was a lesbian, why didn’t you say anything during her first appearance? This feels like a retcon.”
Even in science fiction, supposedly the genre of limitless possibility, where everyone is invited to the adventure, heterosexual, heteroromantic, and cisgendered are considered the default, to the extent that everything else is “deviation,” and must be eyed with suspicion. (For a timely example, look no further than the people recutting and remixing the recent finale of a popular animated series to take away the bisexuality of the main character (no spoilers!). Because only a male/female happy ending can truly be considered “happy.”)
Having already invited women to destroy science fiction, it was only fitting that LIGHTSPEED look for a new group of individuals who wanted to trade their feelings of marginalization for sledgehammers, and the “I Want to Destroy SF” inbox filled up all over again. People really wanted to break things in that most magnificent of ways: with prose.
- Parents investigated for neglect after letting kids walk home alone – I kind of can’t stand the term “free-range kids” and the movement has some major unexamined privilege issues about which kids can be “free-range” BUT this story about child protective services getting called in over kids walking home from a park is fucking ridiculous.
It was a one-mile walk home from a Silver Spring park on Georgia Avenue on a Saturday afternoon. But what the parents saw as a moment of independence for their 10-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter, they say authorities viewed much differently.
Danielle and Alexander Meitiv say they are being investigated for neglect for the Dec. 20 trek — in a case they say reflects a clash of ideas about how safe the world is and whether parents are free to make their own choices about raising their children.
- Extraordinary short film introduces the world to London’s Muslim drag queens – A cool interview with a woman who filmed a documentary about a sub-culture within London’s drag scene.
How much did you know about the Gaysian community before making the film?
Logically I knew that a gay Asian contingent must exist. But coming from an Asian background myself where any talk about LGBT is quickly silenced, I hadn’t encountered much of a scene. I had met lots of gay Asians through university, which was my first experience of visible gay people from my community. Through them and friends I had made over the years, they opened my eyes to spaces that exist in London which I never knew about. After that, finding events which championed the drag scene was relatively easy, and I knew I wanted to tell their stories.
- Hollywood’s political ignorance: What Cosby, “Selma” & Hebdo reveal about white liberal consciousness – Salon is usually a clickbait shit-show, but Brittney Cooper’s articles are always good stuff.
Common clearly took a lesson from the book of Kanye West when he refused to say the words that felt as if they were hanging from the tip of his tongue: “Black lives matter.” I was struck by the audacity of inclusion in Common’s remarks and reminded that this is precisely the kind of racial discourse that we don’t need. But it is the kind of racial discourse in which liberal black folks are forced to publicly engage in order that they might not seem antagonistic to white people. Even when we want to say, Black lives matter, we talk about the lives of other people of color, and about white lives, too. We include everybody, because accusations of exclusion often make white folks less willing to listen to our critiques. Of course, all lives matter. But only some lives—black lives—are consistently treated as if they don’t.
Moreover, white people are not held to the same standard of radical inclusivity. As I watched multiple white celebrities don the stage and stand in solidarity with the victims of the Charlie Hebdo attack and other innocent bystanders, I marveled at the privilege that they had of being specific. Even though some people of color were casualties of the attacks in Paris, by and large this was an attack on white French satirists whose bread and butter was the routine disrespect of the Muslim community. Attacks on largely white victims received a huge and committed show of solidarity, while the Black Lives Matter Movement that has consumed our news cycle for the last four months was apparently not even worthy of mention.
- Why a Generation of Adoptees Is Returning to South Korea – I found the author’s interjections about whether she’s a good white adoptive parent kind of annoying, but the adoptees themselves had interesting things to say.
Laura Klunder’s newest tattoo runs down the inside of her left forearm and reads “K85-160,” a number that dates to her infancy. Klunder was 9 months old when her South Korean mother left her at a police station in Seoul. The police brought her to Holt Children’s Services, a local adoption agency, where a worker assigned Klunder the case number K85-160. It was only two weeks into 1985, but she was already the 160th child to come to the agency that month, and she would go on to be one of 8,800 children sent overseas from South Korea that year. Klunder became part of the largest adoption exodus from one country in history: Over the past six decades, at least 200,000 Korean children — roughly the population of Des Moines — have been adopted into families in more than 15 countries, with a vast majority living in the United States.
Klunder, who is 30, has a warm goofiness and a tendency toward self-deprecation. (“I was the chubby kid with glasses wearing Lisa Frank T-shirts,” she said, shaking her head at the memory of her middle-school self.) But she also resonates intensity. She chose the tattoo of her case number as a critique of adoption, she told me. “I was a transaction. I was a number in the same way that people who are criminalized and institutionalized are given numbers.”
- The forgotten history of how automakers invented the crime of “jaywalking” – Critical Mass’ chant of “Whose streets?/Our streets!” has more truth to it than people may realize. Also note the role lazy, uncritical journalists willing to repeat corporate messaging played.
100 years ago, if you were a pedestrian, crossing the street was simple: you walked across it.
Today, if there’s traffic in the area and you want to follow the law, you need to find a crosswalk. And if there’s a traffic light, you need to wait for it to change to green.
Fail to do so, and you’re committing a crime: jaywalking. In some cities — Los Angeles, for instance — police ticket tens of thousands of pedestrians annually for jaywalking, with fines of up to $250.
To most people, this seems part of the basic nature of roads. But it’s actually the result of an aggressive, forgotten 1920s campaign led by auto groups and manufacturers that redefined who owned the city street.
“In the early days of the automobile, it was drivers’ job to avoid you, not your job to avoid them,” says Peter Norton, a historian at the University of Virginia and author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City. “But under the new model, streets became a place for cars — and as a pedestrian, it’s your fault if you get hit.”
One of the keys to this shift was the creation of the crime of jaywalking. Here’s a history of how that happened.