Links: Saturday, December 7th

December 7, 2013 Links 5

A LEGO set that includes a wheelchair ramp and a power wheelchair for a LEGO minifigure.Accessibility Set – If this gets 10,000 votes, it could become a LEGO product. Pretty neat. (h/t to Willaful, I think.)

  • On Smarm – Tom Scocca asks the question “What is snark a reaction to?” and argues that it’s a reaction to smarm. Anyone interested in the “be nice” kerfluffles in bookish circles should enjoy this post. (h/t Sunita)

    What is smarm, exactly? Smarm is a kind of performance—an assumption of the forms of seriousness, of virtue, of constructiveness, without the substance. Smarm is concerned with appropriateness and with tone. Smarm disapproves.

    Smarm would rather talk about anything other than smarm. Why, smarm asks, can’t everyone just be nicer?

  • Attack of the POC Pod People – Remember that awful “selfies” post about diversity and speculative fiction? Well the magazine’s editor came out in defense of it, and, well, you know how these things go. Silvia Moreno-Garcia writes a great reaction post.

    There’s also the point that including POCs just to make a work more marketable is bad. Is it? If your audience actually says “I’m tired of only seeing male white heroes in the damn bookstore, can we have a lady warrior” or “lady high-tech spy” is that terrible? Should you NOT answer the concerns of your market? The reason why Harlequin has lines dedicated to African American women or imprints have Latino lines is not because they’ve done this out of the goodness of their heart but because there is a market out there for this fiction. Because more and more readers might be interested in it.

  • Concern trolling and “gratuitous diversity” – NK Jemisin has another great response to Amazing Stories’ hole digging.

    So what we have here in Ms. Savage’s post is an expression of concern about the rise of “gratuitous” diversity… framed by a call for more straight white men. And what we have in Mr. Davidson’s call for “minority”** characters who genuinely represent their own background is… the very gratuitous superficiality that he claims he doesn’t espouse. Because, well, he only demands that “minority” characters justify their existence in a given narrative. Only women and people of color (etc.) risk being less-than-genuine for appearing alongside dragons and spaceships without reason. There has to be a point, see, whenever people like me pop up in fiction. We’re there only to “expand our experience and knowledge”, to educate; we can’t just be kicking around for the same reasons white men would be. I mean, really: if we’re not doing something black (or gay or Jewish or whatever), why are we even there? Because, amirite, God knows we’re not marketable.

  • The Homeschool Apostates – An in-depth look at the young adults who have aged out of fundamentalist Christian homeschooling and are making their way in an American culture that feels alien to them.

    Children from the first great wave of Christian homeschooling, in the 1980s and 1990s, were coming of age, and many were questioning the way they were raised.

    Homeschooling leaders had dubbed them the “Joshua Generation.” Just as Joshua completed Moses’s mission by slaughtering the inhabitants of the Promised Land, “GenJ” would carry the fundamentalist banner forward and redeem America as a Christian nation. But now, instead, the children were revolting.

  • How Sikhs migrated to US, fought prejudice and built a community – Someone posted this in a comment on DA this week and I thought it was an interesting look at a part of US history I knew little about.

    The Immigration Act of 1917 had created an “Asiatic Barred Zone” that included South Asia, which prevented further immigrants from the region.

    The Punjabi-Mexican marriages were a direct result of these laws. Men who had planned on bringing their families or getting brides from India suddenly found this option blocked. Marrying white women was even more dangerous since it brought them up against miscegenation laws. Mexican women were then the best alternative. These Punjabis of peasant stock found many similarities with the Mexican peasants.

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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.

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5 Responses to “Links: Saturday, December 7th”

  1. Liz Mc2

    That home-schooling article was fascinating. Thanks! The smarm one definitely struck a chord for me and a lot of others in my tweetstream.

  2. Sunita

    That’s an interesting article in the Economic Times (a very good Indian newspaper). I’m not sure that the issue for these men was anti-miscegenation laws, though, since Indians were never specifically named in the California statute and its subsequent amendments. The bigger barrier for white women was that under the 1922 Cable Act, they lost their US citizenship if they married men who were ineligible for citizenship.

  3. willaful

    Son says, “So you can have your lego buildings be accessible, just like all buildings should be!” We’ve raised him right. :-)

  4. Ridley

    @willaful: I wish The Sims included disability, to be honest. It seems like something they could do pretty easily.

  5. willaful

    @Ridley: I’m not that familiar with them, but yeah, why the hell not?

    I just got to the homeschooling article. Very disturbing, especially to someone who kind of idealizes homeschooling. As someone once said, there is no cause so noble it won’t attract assholes.