- TBR Challenge Read: The Burnt Toast B&B by Heidi Belleau and Rachel Haimowitz – Jessica reviewed a m/m romance with a trans hero in it over at Read React Review.
I was asking on Twitter a couple of weeks ago for a romance with a transgender main character, and someone from Riptide sent me The Burnt Toast B&B, which just came out last week. I realize that I’m not exactly reaching deep into my TBR, but any time I actually read an ARC is a minor miracle so I’m counting it as January’s short read for the 2015 TBR Challenge hosted by Wendy the Super Librarian.
This is the fifth book in a series set in a small town in Washington state that has become a tourist destination thanks to being the filming location for a popular TV show, Wolf’s Landing. I haven’t read any of the previous books in the Bluewater Bay series but I did not feel as if the story had any gaps.
- The Invisible Woman: A Conversation With Björk – I love Björk as a performer and musician and this is a fabulous interview with her in Pitchfork.
Pitchfork: The world has a difficult time with the female auteur.
B: I have nothing against Kanye West. Help me with this—I’m not dissing him—this is about how people talk about him. With the last album he did, he got all the best beatmakers on the planet at the time to make beats for him. A lot of the time, he wasn’t even there. Yet no one would question his authorship for a second. If whatever I’m saying to you now helps women, I’m up for saying it. For example, I did 80% of the beats on Vespertine and it took me three years to work on that album, because it was all microbeats—it was like doing a huge embroidery piece. Matmos came in the last two weeks and added percussion on top of the songs, but they didn’t do any of the main parts, and they are credited everywhere as having done the whole album. [Matmos’] Drew [Daniel] is a close friend of mine, and in every single interview he did, he corrected it. And they don’t even listen to him. It really is strange.
- The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer. Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero? – Literally nothing about this movie makes me want to see it. That viewers see him as a hero to celebrate chills me to the bone.
uch of the US right wing appears to have seized upon American Sniper with similarly shallow comprehension – treating it with the same unconsidered, rah-rah reverence that they would the national anthem or the flag itself. Only a few weeks into its release, the film has been flattened into a symbol to serve the interests of an ideology that, arguably, runs counter to the ethos of the film itself. How much, if at all, should Eastwood concern himself with fans who misunderstand and misuse his work? If he, intentionally or not, makes a hero out of Kyle – who, bare minimum, was a racist who took pleasure in dehumanising and killing brown people – is he responsible for validating racism, murder, and dehumanisation? Is he a propagandist if people use his work as propaganda?
- The Trouble With Heroes – This post talks about the tech industry critic Shanley and how she’s being targeted by GamerGate and other violent men, but it’s also a good general reminder that heroes are only in books and victims are rarely perfect.
The point I was trying to make in those tweets still stands. Trying to separate the ‘good,’ ‘nice,’ ‘worthy’ activists you’re willing to listen to from the ‘mean,’ ‘bitchy,’ ‘rude’ ones you can dehumanize and ignore is a means of control. It’s saying “I’ll recognize your humanity if you behave in the way I dictate.” It’s saying “Your anger is valid only so long as it is palatable to me.” It also ignores the very concrete ways in which refusing to court the approval of those in power creates space for other women to speak.
But in the course of making that point, I uncritically supported someone who has erased another activist from her work. Even if you don’t believe Greenhall about the verbal and emotional abuse (and again, I do), the trail of evidence regarding Kane erasing her from the history of Model View Culture speaks for itself. That evidence lives on the public internet, and I completely failed to notice.
- The brutal secrets behind ‘The Biggest Loser’ – I feel like I’ve linked something like this before, but, whatever. This show sounds totally awful in every way.
In a country where two-thirds of the population is overweight or obese, “The Biggest Loser” has multifaceted appeal: It’s aspirational and grotesque, punitive and redemptive — skinny or fat, it’s got something for you. It’s not uncommon to see contestants worked out to the point of vomiting or collapsing from exhaustion. Contestants, collegially and poignantly, refer to one another as “losers.”
“You just think you’re so lucky to be there,” Hibbard says, “that you don’t think to question or complain about anything.”
- Curse or myth – do periods affect performance? – Here you go: everything you ever wanted to know about menstruation and elite athletics but were afraid to ask.
Britain’s number one tennis player Heather Watson blamed “girl things” on her first-round defeat at the Australian Open this week and ever since there has been non-stop chatter about monthly cycles, stomach cramps and their impact on professional athletes.
Are periods a problem for elite sportswomen? Does it affect performance? We talk to women’s marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, physiologist, Professor John Brewer, and gymnastics coach Helen Potter.