Links: Thursday, May 1st

May 1, 2014 Links 0

a 9 person Indian dance troupe in pink, orange and green costumes poses onstage. 5 dancers are in wheelchairs and the other 4 are ambulatory.The classical dance form Bharatanatyam

  • Boom Goes The Canon: romance, the canon problem, and iconic works – Jodi McAlister weighs in on the canon conundrum. In other news, I’m still amused by cannon/canon puns. I’m hopeless.

    I’m not, however, opposed to identifying iconic texts and writers, because romance certainly has those. There are very important books and authors that have changed and shaped the genre, without which romance today would not be the same. It’s taken me a while to work through what I think the difference is between “iconic” and “canonical” texts, and why the latter bothers me so much while the former doesn’t, and I think the answer comes down to history. The canonical text is supposed to be transcendent and universally relevant, no matter when and where it was written. There’s an inherent sense of timelessness. Iconic texts, on the other hand, don’t necessarily have that sense of timelessness (though they might), but do affect the genre in a meaningful way.

  • My PCA Paper in Gifs – This is from a week or two ago, but I just saw it and it gave me the lols. This is an appropriate use of gifs. A+

    The medical romance series, at least as much as, but probably more than most other subgenres of romance, presents protagonists who are really good people. Since medical romances are workplace romances, it helps to have the hero and heroine work in a profession that requires excellent people skills, a high level of emotional intelligence, and that maintains a fairly high level of social status and approval. A number of the qualities that make for good doctors in the Penhally Bay series also make good romantic partners.

  • The Importance of Braille – Blind reader, blogger and librarian Shannon C. has an insightful post on the essential role braille has for her.

    Even with ebooks, though, I was still relying on listening to the text. I thought that made me happy. Then I got my job at the library for the blind, which meant I now had access to Braille in great profusion again. Thanks to my job, I was also able to purchase a refreshable Braille display. I love my Braille Edge, and here is why: it is comfortable to read on. It’s easy to use, the braille is crisp under my fingers, and I can sit for hours and enjoy the reading experience.

    Once I had my Braille display, I quickly realized how much I had missed reading for myself. This seems so simple when I say it, but I can read again. I am now able to slow down and process the text. I can give my own interpretation to the words and voices to the characters. I can learn how names are spelled. You can’t do that with audio. I remember being quietly overjoyed when I could call Meka and read aloud a favorite passage from a book I was immersed in.

  • Being Black and Nerdy – I enjoyed this story of growing up as black boy into videogames and anime and how nothing is as apolitical as you’d like it to be.

    For many black and brown folk who grew up preoccupied with varying aspects of nerdery, from Mononoke-hime to Magic the Gathering, at some point you’ll have to justify your chosen hobby. Most painfully, it’s usually to someone with your own skin tone. It still stings to remember bringing a copy of Super Mario RPG to 3rd grade Show and Tell and getting called an “oreo.”

    Words like “oreo” (similar to ‘coconut’ or ‘banana’ — black/brown/yellow on the outside — white on the inside) are intraracial, within the race, slurs used to question a person of color’s identity. And while in 2014 the lived spectrum of blackness has visibly widened to include POC scene kids, hipsters, goths, drag queens, coders, gamers, and even Presidents, Twitter last night reminded me that there are many POC nerds, or #blerds who grew up having to negotiate their race and chosen hobby.

  • On whether blow jobs are anti-feminist – This post is a great takedown of another “can you do __ and still be feminist” post. I like how it also goes into the problems with the idea of reciprocity and how it’s not a feminist duty to demand more cunnilingus.

    While almost any act, in a particular context, can potentially be good or bad for women, individual sex acts aren’t good or bad in and of themselves. Anal sex isn’t anti-feminist. Blow jobs aren’t anti-feminist. Giving your partner a hand job on the back of the night bus is not anti-feminist. As I’ve said before, sex is not the opposite of feminism.

    What is anti-feminist is trying to dictate women’s sexual choices: tell them that they should or shouldn’t desire a particular thing in virtue of the fact that they’re a woman. Telling me I don’t have to give blow jobs if I don’t want to is entirely sensible and decent advice. Telling me I shouldn’t give blow jobs because I’m letting the side down is unnecessarily intrusive and repressive.

  • Random Rant: Thanks for the compliment, but my interracial kid is NOT an exotic pet – A few of my friends are in interracial relationships and I have heard so many weird things like this said about their kids. I mean, their kids are all gorgeous, but that’s because their my friends’ kids, and your friends’ kids are always perfect. It’s got nothing to do with being mixed race or not. People, man.

    I’ve experienced firsthand what this lady is talking about. I’m pregnant with a biracial child. (I’m black and her father is a hodgepodge European mix of Scots-Irish, English, Swiss and who knows what else.) Though people think they’re being well-meaning and kind, I’ve gotten plenty of speculation from family, friends, and strangers about how attractive our little girl will be. A regular ol’ little Halle Berry in the making, they seem to believe. I’ve heard it from white people, black people, and everything in between. When I try to joke, “Actually, she could turn out pretty goofy-looking,” it falls on deaf ears and the raving continues.

    One great aunt — who is also well-meaning but, umm, a little eccentric — even speculated how our daughter’s mixed heritage will make her almost like some weird, super human baby. “She’ll take the best traits of both white and black,” she went on to explain as she sat in her recliner. “She won’t get sick like regular babies do. She could even be blonde with blue eyes. You never know!”

  • A Eulogy for Twitter – *resets the counter on the “It’s Been __ Days Since Our Last Thinkpiece In The Nation/Atlantic About How Twitter’s Been Ruined” sign* (donotlinkified)

    Twitter used to be a sort of surrogate newsroom/barroom where you could organize around ideas with people whose opinions you wanted to assess. Maybe you wouldn’t agree with everybody, but that was part of the fun. But at some point Twitter narratives started to look the same. The crowd became predictable, and not in a good way. Too much of Twitter was cruel and petty and fake. Everything we know from experience about social publishing platforms—about any publishing platforms—is that they change. And it can be hard to track the interplay between design changes and behavioral ones. In other words, did Twitter change Twitter, or did we?

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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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