Links: Tuesday, June 24th

June 24, 2014 Links 9

A large standee of a shirtless Fabio wearing tan suede pants with his trademark long blond hair, sits on top of a car holding a hot pink sign advertising a yard sale. 20 Yard Sale Signs That Are Advertising Gold

  • Robin Thicke and the Dynamics of Abuse – This post could easily describe a substantial portion of romance’s “alpha” heroes. Seeing this behavior written by a real live man actively pressuring a real woman to reunite with him makes it a lot more sinister, no?

    It’s honestly like reading an abuser’s check-list. She’s his fantasy. He needs to get her back. He’ll isolate her, maybe refuse to let her leave. He’ll lock the door. He’ll do whatever he wants. Because love can grow back. Because it’s a forever love.

    These apologies, entreaties, promises and veiled threats are all a typical part of the cycle of abuse. This is what psychologist Leonore E. Walker calls the “Reconciliation/Honeymoon Phase” – the abuser feels guilty, is contrite. He or she makes grand gestures of their affection, constructs elaborate apologies. They promise never to hurt their loved one again. They might promise to get help (though most likely they won’t). If that doesn’t work, they might threaten suicide or self-injury in order to gain sympathy or otherwise manipulate the situation. They will do literally anything they can to convince their victim not to leave them.

  • The medical horror that drives my writing career – An honest post from a writer talking about adjusting to life as she gradually goes blind in one eye.

    But that sucker-punch of shock whenever I thought about what was happening to me, that trapdoor into terror: I am happy to find that is unsustainable. You can’t live at that pitch for ever. Slowly you come to terms with a new reality. You learn to accommodate it; it becomes normal. And this feels like a reprieve. You are being spared something, and that in itself is worth celebrating. Of course, every relapse revives the fear; but perhaps, even as your world narrows and darkens, you’re thinking: this is familiar, I’ve been here before.

  • What’s the best romance starring African-Americans (I vote ‘Love and Basketball’) and why are there are so few? – Every time a “black” movie tops the box office, the media seems surprised. For an industry so quick to lament that “the market” dictates what stories they sell, you’d think they’d stop being surprised and start trying to meet the market demand.

    Love and Basketball is a great movie, but I think a part of the reason we fans continue to cling to it so hard is because there’s so few contemporary stories depicting romance between black characters. All respect to Kevin Hart and his patented brand of high-octane comedy, but I don’t think of a hit franchise like Think Like a Man as relevant to this discussion. I’m talking about quieter movies in which average, modern-day black men and women—not historical figures like Jackie Robinson or James Brown, good God Chadwick Boseman must just want to pair of jeans in a movie for once, or beleaguered women from the Civil Rights era—fall in and out love like the rest of us. Love and Basketball, about a couple of college ball players struggling with their passion for their game and each other, is just a simple, little love story that sits nicely on the shelf between 1997′s Love Jones and 2012′s Gimme the Loot. But damn, we need more offerings on that shelf.

  • Only You Can Overthrow the Tyranny of Awful Stock Photos – This reminded me of Courtney Milan’s post about trying to find cover stock photography for a POC heroine.

    The problem is that most of this photography is desperately hackneyed. Search for “work” at a stock-photo site and you’ll get grinning corporate replicants shaking hands over some totally rad deal they’ve apparently just signed. Search for “family” and see phalanxes of white middle-class Stepford moms, dads, and kids. Journalist Jessica Bennett tells how a gender studies researcher at Stanford searched for an image of a female plumber and got women in lingerie, holding wrenches. When Hend Amry, a Libyan-American writer, searched for “Arab” to find stock pictures for a friend’s website, she found images of masked terrorists holding machine guns, sheikhs posing beside oil rigs, and a woman in a head covering holding a knife in her mouth. “I did a double take,” she says, half laughing and half fuming. Amry put the worst offenders on a Tumblr with acid captions, and it went viral. Funny, but as Amry points out, these images have existential freight. “They’re defining the boundaries of what an Arab is,” she adds. “It becomes iconic.”

  • Kara Walker’s Sugar Sphinx Evokes Call From Black Women: ‘We Are Here.’ – People of color have shown up to the Sugar Sphinx exhibit to add their interpretations to counter the offensive photos (mostly white) people have posted to Instagram.

    Some people affiliated with the collective wish that Creative Time had done more to curate the experience. Salome Asega, a black artist and former Creative Time fellow, said that she had to work up the courage to view the Sphinx in person because of all the controversial photos she’d seen in the media. “It’s not like I wanted Creative Time to tell me exactly what to think or how to feel,” she said..”But what would’ve been most valuable for people coming in and out of the show is a space where we could have engaged with the artist or some of the producers to just ask questions. That was the curatorial responsibility, to provide a space for dialogue.”

    In the absence of an official guide to the work some participants took matters into their own hands. At one point during the afternoon, Nick Powers, a professor who teaches black literature at SUNY Westbury, stood at the Sphinx’s backside to warn viewers about the significance of posing for comical photos in front of it. His words drew applause from some nearby spectators.”What a lot of people of color in this room are feeling but just haven’t said out loud is that they don’t like how folks pose in front of this statue dedicated to the violence of slavery,” Powers said. “It’s actually a collective feeling.”

  • Menstruation Is the New Development Fad – An interesting post about ongoing efforts to address menstruation in the developing world and how it’s a complicated issue that won’t be solved with cheaper maxi pads.

    Lack of sanitation infrastructure is one reason poor women in poor countries don’t use disposables — but there are many others. Pads are often too expensive, and global manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson often find distributing products in isolated, rural areas too costly. Menstruation isn’t openly discussed, even in the United States, and in many cultures, taboos around it limit the mobility of menstruating women — sometimes treating them as outcasts. Advocates say such problems do all sorts of harm to women, from higher school dropout rates for girls to increased rates of cervical cancer.

    But some worry that the menstrual-hygiene trend focuses too much on symptoms, rather than underlying causes. And the underlying cause, they say, is a subtle, systemic bias against women and their bodily processes.

  • Notice from Uber regarding “service animals.” – This Reddit thread shows the risks involved in “disruptive” startups that want to operate outside government regulations. It’s challenging enough to enforce ADA compliance in the current system of taxi medallions. Enforcing it among a loose net of independent contractors is going to be even harder.

    Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, service animals must be permitted to accompany riders with disabilities to any business that serves the public. Uber expects all of its partners to conduct themselves in a legally compliant manner.
    If Uber receives rider complaints that you refused to abide by the law and transport a service animal, Uber will have to end its partnership with you.
    If you are not certain that an animal is a service animal, feel free to ask the rider. If they say it is a service animal, you must abide by the law and accept it.
    As always, riders are responsible for cleanup fees for damage to the interior or exterior of the vehicle that may occur during a ride. Please take and send us pictures of such damage if clean-up is required.

  • A Mother’s Beloved Cooking, A Daughter’s Bittersweet Inheritance – A second-generation Pakistani-American woman talks about the complicated relationship she has with her mother’s cooking.

    When I was younger, I enjoyed my mother’s cooking at home but feared what others might think of it. A friend asked me what I’d had for dinner at every one of our evening gymnastics classes. To compete with her descriptions of mac and cheese or meatloaf, I’d translate the Pakistani dishes I’d had to more American ones, turning bits of beef curried with carrots into steak and steamed veggies. So I was relieved when my mom became a more creative cook, adding everything from chicken pot pie to goulash to her standard rotation of Pakistani dishes, if only because I didn’t have to stand around telling lies in my leotard.

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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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9 Responses to “Links: Tuesday, June 24th”

  1. Tina

    love jones. One of my favorite AA romances. It feels like a modern day Chicago-set homage to the Harlem Renaissance. The characters are spoken-word, coffee-house-poet intellectuals and artists who are urban and sexy and smart and very much embodied the nascent Neo-Soul movement.

    Boomerang gets an honorable mention. Great soundtrack. Eddie Murphy was insufferable, but everyone else was great and a young Halle Berry was simply luminous.

  2. Nu

    Haha, Amry’s hilarious! Hm, my fave AA romance. Maybe Brown Sugar, but it changes every day.

    Unfortunately, I can relate to the last link. :/

  3. P. J. DEAN

    Off the top of my head I’d have to say “Boomerang” was my favorite. The ensemble cast was hilarious. I thought Grace Jones was worth watching.

    As for the horrid pile of stock photos available for book covers, I have lamented in advance to the art dept my publisher uses. An interracial historical I wrote will be re-released with this publisher later in the year which means in addition to being revised and re-edited, it going to get a new cover. The previous cover wasn’t perfect but it was okay. I searched the images at Shutterstock and winced and shuddered at the same time. This book is set in the Colonial era. The hero is First Nations and the only images available are of men with bare chests, feathers, beads and the ever-present cascading WARBONNET! Which is for Western tribes I believe and it’s an item used in spiritual ceremonies. Not a universal symbol for all indigenous people of any era. All I could think of was Cassie Edwards! Oy! The heroine is African-American and those images were even worse. Lots of hot-to-trot baby mama sirens with weaves a plenty, club girls galore, lingerie-clad hotties. On and on. Let’s just say that if images can be found to capture this couple, it’ll be a miracle.

  4. cleo

    I’d forgotten about Boomerang – I remember liking it when it came out. That may have been my first Halle Berry movie.

    And I’m so glad to see the love for Love Jones – it’s so good and it captures Chicago so well.

  5. Ridley

    @P. J. DEAN: I feel like Isobel Carr knows someone who shot a bunch of stock historical photos with black models. You might want to @ her on Twitter and ask her.

  6. Heidi Belleau

    I so sympathise with the stock photography woes. The worst was finding a cover model for “Wallflower”. Trying to find an East Asian man who isn’t 1. in a suit and tie doing Business or 2. doing some form of martial art is an ABSOLUTE NIGHTMARE.