- The Logic of Stupid Poor People – A lot of interesting stuff in here about respectability politics and all the ways the game is rigged against the poor.
I remember my mother taking a next door neighbor down to the social service agency. The elderly woman had been denied benefits to care for the granddaughter she was raising. The woman had been denied in the genteel bureaucratic way — lots of waiting, forms, and deadlines she could not quite navigate. I watched my mother put on her best Diana Ross “Mahogany” outfit: a camel colored cape with matching slacks and knee high boots. I was miffed, as only an only child could be, about sharing my mother’s time with the neighbor girl. I must have said something about why we had to do this. Vivian fixed me with a stare as she was slipping on her pearl earrings and told me that people who can do, must do. It took half a day but something about my mother’s performance of respectable black person — her Queen’s English, her Mahogany outfit, her straight bob and pearl earrings — got done what the elderly lady next door had not been able to get done in over a year. I learned, watching my mother, that there was a price we had to pay to signal to gatekeepers that we were worthy of engaging. It meant dressing well and speaking well. It might not work. It likely wouldn‘t work but on the off chance that it would, you had to try. It was unfair but, as Vivian also always said, “life isn’t fair little girl.”
- Reporting from the Popular Romance Author Symposium – Jackie Horne sums up a joint author-scholar romance event. Interesting comments about not defending the genre and instead treating it like it can withstand criticism like anything worth studying.
Much of the early academic writing about popular romance tended to lump all texts together, writing about romance as if it were one unified thing. Long after individual romance authors broke free from publishers’ category lines and established themselves as marketable in themselves, scholarship is finally beginning to take note. The Popular Romance Author Symposium, organized by scholar An Goris, was the first broadscale attempt to bring scholars and writers together to attempt to explore the implications of this shift, and to attempt to determine what being a romance author might have in common with being an author of any other popular genre fiction, and what might be unique about romance authorship in particular.
- I Flunk at Grading – Grading what I read can be so weird sometimes, often for the reasons Willaful mentions. I think that’s why very few books get A’s or F’s from me. It’s hard to place a book in an extreme category like that without comparing it to the few other books in there. It’s much easier to judge a book adequate.
It seems that I’m trying to analyze what I used to just rely on, my gut reaction. The quality of the writing matters to me, as does the general intent — I won’t expect great depths of characterization in a Harlequin Presents, for example, but it damn well better deliver on the gut-twisting. (Another way in which risky books make this harder, since it’s not always as obvious what the intent is.) But ultimately, I think it comes down to the reading experience for me. That’s the place I want to grade from, the place that says yes, in this context it makes perfect sense to give the same grade to Emma and to The Brazillion’s Blackmailed Mistress.
- Philadelphia Passes Sweeping LGBT Legislation – This is a great move for LGBT equality, and a great fuck you to the “black people are homophobic” people. High marks to Philadelphia for this, and I hope it spreads quickly.
When Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter signed legislation Thursday to afford equal rights to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, he said he hoped Philadelphia would become “the most LGBT-friendly” city in the world.
…Nutter, city and state lawmakers and gay rights advocates said the legislation makes Philadelphia the first city in the U.S. to offer tax credits to companies that extend the same health care coverage to LGBT employees’ domestic partners and their children as they provide to heterosexual spouses and their children.
Officials said the legislation also makes Philadelphia the first city to offer businesses tax credits as a way to encourage providing transgender-specific health benefits.
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An ice hockey fan from north of Boston and the genre's most beloved troll, Ridley enjoys reading contemporary and historical romance, as well as the odd erotica novel. As someone who uses a wheelchair, she takes a particular interest in disability themes.