Links: Saturday, June 21st

June 21, 2014 Links 3

A grey and white cat sits on a floor wearing a note that says "I watched a mouse eat my food and did nothing."Cat Shaming

  • Only Spinning Forward: On the Commercial Viability of LGBTQ Literature – What I know about trends in general fiction could fill a thimble but this article completely ignoring romance seemed to weaken its argument pretty significantly.

    Aside from sucking generally, this dismissal of LGBTQ artwork has personal resonance for many LGTBQ readers and writers, including me. A couple years ago, an agent told me via email that my first manuscript was, in a sense, “too gay.” The agent’s exact words were, “this is America, after all, where a million soccer moms will read 50 SHADES OF GREY, but wouldn’t touch a book that is far less graphically gay than that one is graphically straight (or so I hear, anyway).” That concluding parenthetical aside — “(or so I hear, anyway)” — is perfect and speaks to the lowest common denominator of audience acceptability. It’s as if the liberal, cosmopolitan agent is shrugging, What can you do about the tastes of the heterosexual hoi polloi?

  • 100 Books by Black Women Everyone Must Read – I saw this on Dear Author’s links and thought the three of you who visit here and not there might find it useful.

    Far too often Black women are excluded from the classic literary canon. But Black women have consistently published evocative, thoughtful works. Our stories soar. They provoke. They inspire. The work of Black women across history is expansive. Though we’ve compiled 100 selections, this is still only the tip of the literary iceberg. We encourage you to leave a comment and share more brilliant works by Black women.

  • Deadly Victorian fashions – Toronto’s Bata Shoe Museum is hosting an exhibition looking at the human cost of Victorian fashion, from arsenic poisoning to crinoline fires to factory conditions for workers. It sounds fascinating.

    The green of the shimmering silk, now slightly faded, was one of the Victorian era’s most fashionable hues; people, mostly women, wore it even after it was widely known that the arsenic-based dye responsible for the colour could lead to horrible physical suffering and early death. When asked if the dress poses any danger still, Semmelhack pauses. “We’ve been counselled not to lick it,” she says, laughing.

    The prime risk, Semmelhack explains, was for the wearer who would sweat and absorb it. But the dangers of the dye didn’t end there: They extended to a long chain of people, from factory workers to seamstresses to fellow ball-goers.

  • The Kiss That Changed Video Games – Interesting that a kiss between two women in a game that wasn’t supposed to have same-sex relationships in it may have been what kept EA from cancelling The Sims before it launched.

    In early 1999, before E.A. had a chance to kill the design, Barrett was asked to create a demo of the game to be shown at E3. The demo would consist of three scenes from the game. These were to be so-called on-rails scenes—not a true, live simulation but one that was preplanned, and which would shake out the same way each time it was played, in order to show the game in its best light. One of the scenes was a wedding between two Sims characters. “I had run out of time before E3, and there were so many Sims attending the wedding that I didn’t have time to put them all on rails,” Barrett said.

    On the first day of the show, the game’s producers, Kana Ryan and Chris Trottier, watched in disbelief as two of the female Sims attending the virtual wedding leaned in and began to passionately kiss. They had, during the live simulation, fallen in love. Moreover, they had chosen this moment to express their affection, in front of a live audience of assorted press. Following the kiss, talk of The Sims dominated E3. “You might say that they stole the show,” Barrett said. “I guess straight guys that make sports games loved the idea of controlling two lesbians.”

  • The bell hooks phone line bothers me – A thought-provoking counterpoint to the phony phone number post I linked to last week.

    For example, one of the most ubiquitous myths of rape culture is that sexual assault is perpetuated by shady strangers, distinguishing between “good men in our lives” and “bad men out there in the world.” This myth is implicit in the phone line. As feminist poet Cynthia Dewi Oka notes, “Will women be more safe because we find more ways around saying ‘No, I don’t want to give you my number’? The vast majority of women are assaulted and violated by men already in their lives.”

    And do women really need yet one more — albeit, witty and sassy — means of guarding-up? On top of figuring out a buddy system, choosing a route to walk home, and protecting our drinks, do we now need to memorize a phone number to fend off unwanted sexual advances?

  • Ouch Q&A: Héctor Castro 1930s disabled football star – Oh MAN the framing questions are terrible in this post, but I liked seeing this story of the Uruguayan soccer player with one arm who scored in the 1930 World Cup final match.

    Let me whisk you back to Montevideo in July 1930. It’s late afternoon in Uruguay’s capital city and the 89th minute of a thrilling final between the Uruguayans and Argentina. The home side lead 3-2 against their arch rivals. The Argentineans had led 2-1 at halftime and are now laying siege to the Uruguayan goal in desperate search of an equaliser.

    While eighty odd thousand frenzied home fans look on inside the stadium, troops outside gear up in anticipation of clashes between the rival supporters. Uruguay suddenly break away and Héctor Castro thumps the ball into the roof of the Argentinean net to score the decisive fourth goal.

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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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3 Responses to “Links: Saturday, June 21st”

  1. lawless

    I am also startled at the omission of romance (and secondarily of sff) in an article about LGBTQ literature. However, despite the passing mention of genre, the focus seems to be entirely on mainstream commercial fiction. I’m not even sure literary fiction is within its purview; if it was, wouldn’t Man Booker prizewinner Alan Hollinghurst be mentioned?

    Also, if it had been mentioned, most gay, m/m, and f/f romance would probably be dismissed under the guise of dismissing romance as a frivolous genre but really because such stories are not primarily designed, written for, or read by men.

    @Ridley – I never cease to be amazed at the photos and gifs you find (especially the lolcats) to illustrate your link posts. Thank you.

  2. Ridley

    @lawless: Aw, thanks! I wade through the racist and misogynist crap on Imgur looking for gems so you don’t have to.