Links: Wednesday, July 9th

July 9, 2014 Links 6

A yellow lab wearing a purple vest holds a crutch in its mouth and offers it to a seated white person.

Assistance dogs: How to spot them

  • Rainbow Rowell Does Romance With A Subversive (Read: Realistic) Twist – Here’s what I don’t get: How effective is it to market something as a romance (but not)? Don’t you turn off romance fans by implying the genre they enjoy and therefore their taste is weak and unrealistic? Wouldn’t invoking the word “romance” scare off the snobs? Who, exactly, is this article writer addressing? Also, this book’s premise is capital R Ridiculous.

    Rainbow Rowell writes conventional fiction unconventionally. They’re romances, but there’s no meeting-cute, or ripping bodices — the people in them seem real.

    Rowell got a lot of attention last year for her best-selling young adult romance, Eleanor & Park, about a half-white, half-Korean boy who falls in love with an overweight white girl. Her newest novel, and her second for adults, is called Landline.

    “Our cellphones can do everything, but they’re bad at letting us talk to each other,” Rowell grouses. She misses the not-so-long-ago era of landlines, so one of the characters in her new book is a phone — one that’s yellow, rotary and plugs into a wall. In the 1990s, Rowell says, landlines were for her a critical — even visceral — tool for romance.

  • Unalterable: On Accepting Myself As a Queer Person with Dwarfism – This is a really important post on identity, internalized oppression and the process of self-acceptance.

    People sometimes suggest that the GLBTQ community is more accepting of diversity and acknowledging the struggles of other oppressed minorities. Like many people, I find this is more rhetoric than reality.

    The same prejudice the non-disabled world places on disabled people is alive and well among many queer people and in queer spaces.

    Being queer doesn’t help me accept being a disabled person. In fact it’s the reverse: being disabled, or the recognition of this, allows me to accept and ultimately celebrate being queer.

  • 2,500-year-old erotic graffiti found in unlikely setting on Aegean island – For as long as men have been hooking up, they’ve been bragging about it in graffiti.

    Chiselled into the outcrops of dolomite limestone that dot the cape, the inscriptions have provided invaluable insight into the private lives of those who inhabited archaic and classical Greece. One, believed to have been carved in the mid-sixth century BC, proclaimed: “Nikasitimos was here mounting Timiona (Νικασίτιμος οἶφε Τιμίονα).

    “We know that in ancient Greece sexual desire between men was not a taboo,” added Dr Vlachopoulos, who returned to the far-flung island last week to resume work with a team of topographers, photographers, conservationists and students. “But this graffiti … is not just among the earliest ever discovered. By using the verb in the past continuous [tense], it clearly says that these two men were making love over a long period of time, emphasising the sexual act in a way that is highly unusual in erotic artwork. “

  • 6 Folktales from 6 Continents to Read to Your Kids – A quick post offering short synopses of folklore from around the world.

    South America: “The Silver-Miners”
    “The Silver-Miners” is a Bolivian myth about the time when the Spanish came to look for riches in South America. The story goes that the Bolivian people were made slaves by the Spanish, forced to tear into the mountain Parichata, guardian of Potosí Town, to extract silver. The people cried out to the gods for liberation and one night all the beetles on the mountain congregated at the mine and turned into mules with huge panniers strapped to their backs. Then, all the silver in the mine liquefied and came rushing out to fill the panniers, and the mules took the silver away. The Spanish had to seek out a new source of treasure, and the people of Potosí were left in peace.

  • Euphemisms For Body Parts In Romance Novels : A Ranking – I am almost certain I have seen every term listed here at least once. I’d like to challenge an author to include all of these in a single book and make it work.

    When it comes to sexy times in romance novels, clinical and anatomical descriptions can really ruin the mood. So it’s up to authors to work around those sex ed terms and come up with something a bit more creative. Unfortunately, certain words should never be used when describing a character’s bits and pieces. Here at Book Riot, we’ve ranked some of the worst euphemisms in romance novels. It’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

  • White supremacy and slavery: Gerald Horne on the real story of American independence – My high school history teacher was adamant that the war for independence the “American Revolution” was buying into good PR and that it was more accurately called the “American Status Quo.” This author interview is a reminder that slavery was an integral part of said status quo, and not the “regrettable” peculiar institution of misguided Southern landowners.

    In “The Counter-Revolution of 1776: Slave Resistance and the Origins of the United States of America,” Horne marshals considerable research to paint a picture of a U.S. that wasn’t founded on liberty, with slavery as an uncomfortable and aberrant remnant of a pre-Enlightenment past, but rather was founded on slavery — as a defense of slavery — with the language of liberty and equality used as window dressing. If he’s right, in other words, then the traditional narrative of the creation of the U.S. is almost completely wrong.

    Salon recently spoke with Horne about his book, why the conventional story of the U.S. founding has been so widely accepted, and what this new view of the American Revolution might mean for those still fighting white supremacy today.

  • Mixed emotions as Jezebel gets new editor – In the continuing saga of Jezebel being the fucking worst, they passed over the 42-year-old deputy editor Dodai Stewart and instead hired a 25-year-old white woman. If Carmichael had a conscience, she’d turn that offer down.

    The announcement two weeks ago that Emma Carmichael, editor of The Hairpin, will succeed Jessica Coen as editor-in-chief of Jezebel left some Jezebel staffers feeling conflicted—both happy for Carmichael and disappointed that management passed over deputy editor Dodai Stewart for the top job.

    Stewart is one of the few women of color on Jezebel’s masthead and the longest-serving staffer at the site, having been hired by founding editor Anna Holmes shortly after the site launched in 2007. In the past year, she has also assumed a larger role in running the site, three people familiar with the site’s internal workings told Capital.

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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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6 Responses to “Links: Wednesday, July 9th”

  1. cleo

    That Unalterable essay is fantastic.

    The ancient penis carvings made me laugh. Too bad I don’t teach Art History – that would liven up a lecture.

  2. Laura Jardine

    “They’re romances, but there’s no meeting-cute, or ripping bodices — the people in them seem real.” Uggh. I agree the premise of the book is ridiculous, but I rather liked Rowell’s “Attachments,” so maybe I’ll read it eventually.

  3. Ridley

    @Laura Jardine: Fetishizing the corded phone is so odd to me. I don’t think I’ve had a corded phone since I was a preteen in the late-80s/early-90s. I had a cordless phone heavy enough to kill a man.

    All this “modern technology has killed romance” stuff is so tired. My husband and I flirted and wooed each other via AIM chat in college. You know what you can do with chat that you can’t do with a phone call? Bring up the files years later and print them out to bind them in hardcover for a wedding anniversary gift.

  4. Laura Jardine

    @Ridley: Oh, that is cute :) My partner and I talked on IM all the time when we were long distance for a year.

    Attachments was all about e-mail, so it’s interesting Rowell went this way for this book…

  5. cleo

    @Ridley – I agree. Any medium, be it chisel and stone, or AIM, or email, can be used for flirting and romance.

    I used email to ask my future husband out on our first date (it was my first date with him anyways – on his first (earlier) date with me, I thought I was having lunch with a work friend). All I can say is thank goodness for email, because if I had to actually call him, I’d never have worked up the nerve.